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Bezos Offers NASA $2B For Lunar Lander Contract To Send Astronauts To The Moon
By Alexa Heah, 27 Jul 2021
Image via Blue Origin
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has offered to cover up to US$2 billion in costs in exchange for NASA’s next lunar lander contract to send astronauts to the moon. The space venture will also fund its own pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit.
“This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up,” Bezos said in an open letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
According to CNBC, back in April, NASA had awarded SpaceX – helmed by Elon Musk – a US$2.89 billion contract to build the next crewed lunar lander under its Human Landing Systems program. The space agency had originally given a 10-month study contract to SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics before finally deciding on Musk’s firm.
“Instead of this single-source approach, NASA should embrace its original strategy of competition. Without competition, a short time into the contract, NASA will find itself with limited options as it attempts to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes, and cost overruns,” Bezos explained.
As of now, Blue Origin said it has sold nearly US$100 million worth of tickets for future flights to the edge of space, as per CNBC. The firm is working on building more sub-orbital rockets so that the frequency of its flights can increase.
It remains to be seen if NASA will respond to Bezos’ request to build its next lunar lander.
[via CNBC, cover image via Blue Origin]
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