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SpaceX Protests Lucy Launch Contract

Jeff Foust, for SpaceNews:

The protest, filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Feb. 11, is regarding a NASA procurement formally known as RLSP-35. That contract is for the launch of the Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter, awarded by NASA to ULA Jan. 31 at a total cost to the agency of $148.3 million.

The GAO documents did not disclose additional information about the protest, other than the office has until May 22 to render a decision. NASA said that, as a result of the protest, it’s halted work on the ULA contract.

It’ll be endlessly interesting to see how this turns out, but now is precisely the right time for SpaceX to protest an award like this. They’re fresh off their Category 3 certification from the NASA Launch Services Program, they’re on a hell of a roll, and ULA has had quite a few scrubs and some long delays of late.