Protest Halts ISS Commercial Resupply

Jan 20, 2009

Losing bidder PlanetSpace has filed a protest of NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) awards to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp.

Under contracts awarded earlier this month totaling $3.5 billion, SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., and Orbital of Dulles, Va., will launch unpiloted vehicles to deliver pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the International Space Station (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 5).

Chicago-based PlanetSpace, which includes Lockheed Martin, ATK and Boeing, proposed the space shuttle-derived Athena III for station resupply. The protest effectively stops the program until the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) either dismisses or upholds the protest. GAO has 90 days from the filing of the protest to render its ruling.

In a statement, PlanetSpace said its proposal received a higher mission suitability score from NASA's selection board, and was cheaper than SpaceX's and Orbital's proposals. Evaluators also gave PlanetSpace subcontractors an "excellent" mark for past performance, the company said.

"We believe that the GAO will find that flaws in the procurement justify award to PlanetSpace," the company said.

Photo: NASA

AVIATION WEEK Copyright 2009, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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