Blue Origin’s CEO Jeff Bezos has offered NASA $2 billion if the space agency reconsiders his company for a contract on its lunar landing mission. His firm lost the contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX in April.
“Blue Origin will bridge [NASA’s] budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2bn to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote in an open letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. In return, Bezos wants Blue Origin to get a fixed-priced contract for the construction of a spaceship for NASA’s moon mission.
The space agency announced the contract earlier this year. It initially wanted at least two private-sector companies to compete for a part in the mission, but later decided to go for one firm, citing low funding.
In April, NASA inked the deal with Blue Origin’s rival, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, granting a $2.9 billion contract for SpaceX’s cylindrical Starship shuttle. Blue Origin and defense company Dynetics lost the bid, with NASA stating that SpaceX was “the best value to the government.”
After losing the bid to SpaceX, both Blue Origin and Dynetics filed a protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) claiming that NASA’s choice was unfair. Amid the legal challenge NASA had to suspend work on the project in May. In his letter, Bezos further warned that NASA’s mission may be delayed and will be more expensive without competition.
Blue Origin calls its lunar lander the Blue Moon, designing it to resemble the iconic Apollo module that brought Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the lunar surface in 1969.
“We created a 21st Century lunar landing system inspired by the well-characterized Apollo architecture – an architecture with many benefits. One of its important benefits is that it prioritizes safety,” Bezos wrote.
NASA said it was informed of Bezos’ letter but declined to comment, Reuters reported.
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