On Dec. 12, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) notified NASA that it had denied a protest filed against the Agency by Blue Origin LLC on Sept. 13, 2013. In its protest, Blue Origin raised concerns about the competitive process NASA was using to try to secure a potential commercial partner(s) to lease and maintain the Agency's Launch Complex (LC) 39-A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Blue Origin had argued that the language in the "Announcement for Proposals" (AFP) favored one proposed use of LC-39A over others. The GAO disagreed.
The GAO's ruling is posted on the GAO website
Given today's GAO ruling, NASA is looking forward in the near future to selecting an industry partner for negotiations to lease and operate LC-39A. Permitting use of this valuable national asset by commercial entities will ensure its continued viability and will allow for its continued use in support of U.S. space activities.
The reuse of LC-39A is part of NASA's work to transform the Kennedy Space Center into a 21st-century launch complex capable of supporting both government and commercial users. Kennedy is having success attracting significant private sector interest in its unique facilities. The center is hard at work assembling NASA's Orion spacecraft and preparing its infrastructure for the Space Launch System rocket, which will launch from LC-39B and take American astronauts into deep space, including an asteroid and Mars.
In the meantime, in order to maintain the integrity of the LC-39A competition, NASA will not be commenting on or providing additional information about the LC-39A competition beyond the publicly-released, May 23, 2013 Announcement for Proposals until an agency selection related to LC-39A is made and announced publicly by the agency.