L3Harris loses bid for $500M NASA satellite contract

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The Government Accountability Office rejects all arguments over the award that went to Ball Aerospace.

L3Harris Technologies has lost its fight to get another shot at a $500 million NASA weather satellite contract.

The GeoXO Sounder program award went to Ball Aerospace in September, then L3Harris quickly followed with a protest that challenged multiple aspects of the contract.

NASA is using the contract to acquire hyperspectral infrared instruments to go onboard geostationary satellites. The instrument will work to make sounding observations of the western hemisphere to gather data on temperatures and water vapor, according to GovTribe data.

L3Harris complained that NASA didn’t follow the terms of the solicitation, conducted a flawed best-value evaluation, treated bidders unequally and also didn’t perform a proper cost realism analysis.

Other complaints included a lack of documentation for how NASA conducted the evaluation and an alleged organizational conflict-of-interest that wasn’t accounted for.

The Government Accountability Office rejected L3Harris’ allegations and denied the protest on Wednesday. A public version of the decision has not been released yet.

But Ball Aerospace is now cleared to begin working on the five-year contract.

It is also a nice Christmas present for BAE Systems, which is acquiring Ball Aerospace for $5.5 billion. The companies expect to close that transaction in the first half of 2024.