Billion-dollar-plus NASA medical research contract under dispute
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A bidding dispute has forced NASA to again put up for bid a $1.5 billion contract for space medicine.
The dispute has to do with two dueling contractors, Wyle and SAIC, both of whom want the big bucks.
After Wyle won the Human Health and Performance contract in March 2013, SAIC filed a protest with the GAO, ultimately prompting NASA to reopen the competition.
When NASA reawarded the contract in August 2013, it chose SAIC. The following month, the McLean, Virginia-based firm — which had announced plans the previous summer to split into two companies — rebranded itself as Leidos and spun off its $4 billion government information technology and technical services unit as a publicly traded firm that kept the name SAIC and was slated to get the Human Health and Performance contract.
But Wyle filed its own protest with GAO in September 2013, arguing that NASA should discount SAIC’s lower bid — at $975 million, nearly 10 percent lower than Wyle’s — because it was submitted when the unit was still part of a much larger company with deeper pockets. This time, the GAO sided with Wyle.
The article says practically nothing about what all this money buys me, the taxpayer. And it is an awful lot of money. Is it for medical research on ISS? Is it for monitoring the health of the astronauts? Is it for biological research? What is it for exactly? I honestly can’t imagine how this kind of research or medical monitoring on ISS can cost this much. My skeptical nature has me wondering if this contract might instead be a bit inflated, much like SLS and Orion, in order to funnel pork to congressional districts to employ as many voters as possible.