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Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2bn to get moon mission contract

30.07.2021 08:00 AM
Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2bn to get moon mission contract
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Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2bn to get moon mission contract
Jeff Bezos wants to pay NASA up to $2 billion in a bid to reignite the race to space battle between his rocket company, Blue Origin, and Elon Musk's SpaceX.

The world's richest man appealed to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter Monday, offering to cover billions of dollars in costs for the US space agency.

With that, Bezos hopes that Blue Origin can be reconsidered for a contract to build the craft that will land the next astronauts on the Moon.

His unusual proposal comes just months after NASA chose SpaceX over Blue Origin for a $2.9 billion contract to build the craft.

The agency originally intended to have at least two private companies competing to build the spacecraft that would carry astronauts to the lunar surface for Artemis moon landing missions — a project called the Human Landing System (HLS).

But in April, NASA chose in a surprise announcement that it would go ahead with SpaceX as the sole contractor for the project, citing costs as the main reason.

Blue Origin publicly opposed the decision.

Now, Bezos - after leaving his spaceflight last week - wants to make sure money doesn't get in his way.

"Blue Origin will fill the HLS budget funding shortfall by forgoing all payments in the current and next fiscal years to the government for up to $2 billion to get the program back on track now," he wrote. This offer time for government privatization actions to catch up."

Bezos has repeatedly stressed the need for NASA to promote healthy competition as the agency works on its return to the moon, noting that the government will regret not doing so.

He wrote: “Without competition, after a short period of contract, NASA will find itself with limited options as it tries to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes, and cost overruns. It will not serve the national interest."

NASA expects the first woman and second man to land on the moon's South Pole in 2024 through the Artemis program.

The last time humans discovered the surface of the Moon was during the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, in 1972.

As it competed for the contract, Blue Origin proposed to work as a "national team" for HLS along with frequent government contractors such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to design a lunar lander specifically to serve the space station, called Gateway, that NASA is planning. NASA to put it into orbit around the moon.

Alabama-based Dynetics, which also protested NASA's decision to award the contract to SpaceX, made a similar proposal.
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