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GAO denies L3Harris protest over Ball Aerospace climate satellite tv for pc instrument contract

WASHINGTON — The Authorities Accountability Workplace has rejected a protest filed by L3Harris over NASA’s award of a contract to Ball Aerospace for a next-generation climate satellite tv for pc instrument.

NASA introduced Sept. 11 that it awarded a $486.9 million contract to Ball Aerospace to develop an instrument for the Geostationary Extended Observations, or GeoXO, weather satellite program for the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The instrument, known as the GeoXO Sounder or GXS, is a hyperspectral infrared instrument.

L3Harris filed a protest with the GAO arguing that NASA’s analysis of the technical and value proposals from the 2 corporations, the one bidders on GXS, was “unreasonable, irrational, and inadequately documented.” A key problem for L3Harris was that it had a better rating in its technical strategy however NASA picked Ball due to a cheaper price.

L3Harris’s proposal obtained a technical strategy rating of 600 factors out of 750, whereas Ball’s proposal obtained 563 factors. The 2 corporations obtained related scores on two different points, administration strategy and small enterprise utilization. Ball submitted a bid of $486.9 million whereas L3Harris bid $764.9 million.

The GAO, in its analysis of the protest publicly launched Dec. 28, concluded that NASA made clear within the request for proposals that technical strategy is just one of a number of elements it integrated into its analysis. NASA additionally made “price realism” changes to Ball’s bid to handle weaknesses, corresponding to “a schedule with non-credible points” that might possible lead to delays.

These changes led NASA to estimate a possible price of Ball’s bid of $553.9 million, nonetheless considerably lower than L3Harris’s proposal. NASA concluded the “very important price benefit” of Ball’s proposal outweighed the “slight” technical benefit of L3Harris’s proposal.

L3Harris argued that NASA ought to have made a fair bigger adjustment as a result of Ball was proposing fewer labor hours than L3Harris. NASA countered that the distinction in labor could possibly be defined by a “extra complicated structure” that L3Harris supplied for the instrument and higher use of subcontractors, amongst different elements.

The GAO discovered that NASA acted correctly when including hours and value to Ball’s bid and assessing the distinction in general labor hours between the 2 proposals. “In sum, we discover the company moderately defined and adequately documented its price realism evaluation of Ball’s proposal,” the GAO acknowledged, rejecting L3Harris’s claims.

A second motive for L3Harris’s protest was that BAE Systems announced Aug. 17 that it planned to acquire Ball Aerospace for $5.5 billion. That deal was introduced after NASA’s supply analysis board had accomplished its work reviewing the 2 proposals and had briefed the supply choice authority (SSA), the NASA official liable for awarding the contract. NASA checked with Ball, which mentioned it didn’t count on the acquisition to have any “significant affect” on the proposal or the corporate’s capability to do the work.

L3Harris argued that the acquisition would drive up Ball’s charges and that NASA ought to have included that in its price realism evaluation. The GAO disagreed. “Apart from its expectation that Ball’s charges can be increased, the protester doesn’t reveal that NASA had a justifiable foundation to make such an adjustment because the transaction had not been accomplished, and even possessed dependable information to kind a foundation to compute what the adjustment needs to be,” the GAO’s analysis acknowledged.

The ultimate argument L3Harris made in its protest was there was an “unmitigable look of impropriety” within the procurement as a result of a former Ball government was now the director of NASA’s Goddard Area Flight Middle, the middle liable for the GXS procurement. (The GAO analysis identifies that particular person solely as “Dr. X” due to a GAO coverage to not disclose names of particular people; NASA announced in April it employed Makenzie Lystrup, former vice chairman and basic supervisor of civil house at Ball Aerospace, as the brand new Goddard director.)

NASA officers mentioned that Lystrup was not concerned within the procurement in any manner, with Lystrup telling the GAO that she solely came upon Ball was chosen “after it was reported within the information.” She had additionally divested any monetary pursuits in Ball by the point NASA chosen the corporate for the GXS award.

The GAO accepted that clarification. “In our view, the details right here don’t set up any impropriety requiring Ball’s disqualification for award, or in any other case point out that the SSA had a battle of curiosity that prejudiced the protester,” its analysis concluded.

Having rejected all of L3Harris’s arguments, the GAO denied the protest. A spokesperson for L3Harris didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the GAO’s choice or whether or not the corporate would search to attraction that denial to the Courtroom of Federal Claims.

The submit GAO denies L3Harris protest over Ball Aerospace weather satellite instrument contract appeared first on SpaceNews.