Jeff Bezos Reaches Out to NASA, Offers $2B in Exchange for Moon Lander Contract

Just a week after his trip to the edge of space, Jeff Bezos has stepped back into Blue Origin's lunar race against Elon Musk's SpaceX. In an open letter to NASA, Bezos offered to cover $2 billion of the agency's payments in exchange for a lander contract that will allow his company to build a spaceship that will land astronauts on the Moon.
Jeff Bezos next to the Blue Moon, a lander design concept for making cargo deliveries to the Moon 8 photos
Blue Origin's crew is riding in a Rivian R1S SUV to the launch siteBlue Origin's crew is riding in a Rivian R1S SUV to the launch siteNew Shepard rocket is getting ready for take offNew Shepard rocket is headed to the edge of spaceNew Shepard rocket is headed to the edge of spaceThe rocket booster has landed back at Blue Origin's Launch Site One in West TexasJeff Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation legend Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen are in the capsule after a safe touchdown
Back in April, NASA has awarded SpaceX, owned by his rival Elon Musk, a $2.9 billion contract to build a spacecraft, part of the agency's Human Landing System program, that will get astronauts back on the Moon. At the time, NASA rejected proposals from other contractors, which included Bezos' Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.

In the past, NASA has always picked more than one contractor for its major programs. The goal was to encourage competition and allow for considerably faster mission development. But because the funding for the Human Landing System program had fallen short, NASA awarded only one contractor: SpaceX.

Shortly after, Blue Origin filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the contract was suspended until the congressional watchdog rules the facts of the case. Blue Origin has been rigorously trying to get the decision changed since losing the award.

In his letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Bezos considers the decision a "mistake," but not necessarily something "too late to remedy." He went on to add that his offer comes to "bridge the budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2 billion to get the program back on track right".

Bezos' offer represents Blue Origin's latest attempt to convince NASA to pick his company. The billionaire also stated that Blue Origin's lunar lander, the Blue Moon spacecraft, will use liquid hydrogen for fuel, which could be mined on the Moon. This will come to support the agency's mining program that will help astronauts return to the Moon under the Artemis program.

"We stand ready to help NASA moderate its technical risks and solve its budgetary constraints and put the Artemis Program back on a more competitive, credible, and sustainable path," he wrote.

It's uncertain whether Bezos' attempt will have any influence on the U.S. Government Accountability Office's final decision.


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