Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the US government is being delayed for a week, partly because the DOJ had trouble converting documents into PDFs

Jeff Bezos looks into distance in front of Blue Origin rocket
Jeff Bezos.
  • Blue Origin's lawsuit against the US government and SpaceX has been delayed over PDF problems.
  • Department of Justice attorneys said the administrative record included more than 7GB of documents.
  • Uploading large batches "brings additional opportunity for the system to crash," DOJ lawyers said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The route to the moon has been temporarily blocked by a stack of troublesome PDFs.

A federal judge on Friday granted a week-long extension in the lawsuit brought by Blue Origin against SpaceX and the US government.

This occurred, in part, because PDFs and other related documents were too large for the court system to handle.

More than 7GB of data were part of the administrative record in the case, the government said in a filing in US Court of Federal Claims on Friday. It said it would have to transfer the documents to DVDs instead of uploading them to the court's filing system.

"Good cause exists to grant this motion," attorneys from the Department of Justice wrote. "The administrative record in this case is extraordinarily voluminous, consisting of hundreds of individual documents and over seven gigabytes of data."

Both Blue Origin and SpaceX agreed to the extension, the government's filing said.

In its request for more time, the government said it was having difficulty with the data and documents for a few reasons. Part of the difficulty was that the US Court of Federal Claims, like other courts, limited the size of files that can be uploaded to its online system to 50 MB.

But it wasn't just the size of the data that would be an issue, the government said.

In their request, the DOJ attorneys said the documents included hundreds of PDFs, along with many other types of files that would be difficult to convert to PDFs. But even if they were able to convert them all into PDFs, they'd then have to upload "several hundred" separate documents to the court system.

Another solution was to combine the individual documents into batches of 50 MB PDFs using Adobe Acrobat software, the DOJ said. That would reduce the number of uploads, but each of those larger uploads "brings additional opportunity for the system to crash," DOJ lawyers said.

"Thus, although Acrobat allows the user to split a PDF into smaller files of a specified size, it cannot combine several hundred files at one time without crashing," the DOJ said. "We have tried several different ways to create 50-megabyte files for more efficient filing, all without success thus far."

Insider reached out to Adobe for comment.

In asking for an extension to file, DOJ attorneys also sought to extend the pause on NASA's moon-lander contract with SpaceX. The work under that $2.9 billion contract had been put on hold in April, then restarted, then put on hold again.

The original schedule, filed on August 19, had marked November 1 as the end of the current pause. Friday's revised schedule omitted the date altogether, although DOJ attorneys had included a proposed November 8 restart in their proposed new schedule.

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