Elon Musk on Blue Origin suing NASA: 'You can't sue your way to the moon'

The comment comes after Jeff Bezos' company sued NASA following the space agency's lunar lander contract with SpaceX.

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Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti
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Elon Musk

Elon Musk took a jab at Jeff Bezos and his space company, Blue Origin.

Screenshot by Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET

Elon Musk has some thoughts about Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin suing NASA last month over the space agency's lunar lander contract with Musk's SpaceX. 

"He should put more of his energy into getting into orbit than lawsuits," Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said during an interview Tuesday with Kara Swisher at the Code conference in Los Angeles. "You can't sue your way to the moon, no matter how good your lawyers are."

In response, a Blue Origin representative told CNET, "SpaceX is well aware, having benefitted from its own frequent protests and court filings against NASA and the US Air Force, that such actions are common practice in the government procurement process." An Amazon representative also sent CNET a list of times SpaceX has filed lawsuits against the US government on procurement matters, saying, "It is difficult to reconcile their own historical record with their recent position on others filing similar actions."

In April, NASA chose SpaceX and its Starship concept to provide the vehicle that'll carry Artemis astronauts to the surface of the moon as soon as 2024. The decision to go with just SpaceX came as a surprise to many people who expected the space agency to choose two companies to create the lander designs. Blue Origin, the space company owned by Bezos, filed a complaint in federal court in August against NASA, alleging that the agency unjustly granted a lunar lander contract to SpaceX. 

Earlier in Tuesday's interview, Musk took a jab at other efforts to go into suborbital space. (Blue Origin and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic both took a trip to the edge of space in July.)

"Suborbital is a step in the direction of orbit," he said to laughter from the crowd. "But it's still good to do something in space."

When asked specifically about Branson's and Bezos' efforts, Musk added, "I thought it was cool that they're spending money on the advancement of space."

On Monday, Blue Origin shared who'll be in the cabin for the second crewed flight of the New Shepard vehicle in October: former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, as well as Glen de Vries, an entrepreneur and executive with French software company Dassault Systemes. 

Musk's comments come as he topped Forbes' real-time billionaires list, with a net worth of over $200 billion. Bezos came in at No. 2, with a net worth of $193 billion.