Jeff Bezos is offering to cover billions in costs if NASA remedies its 'mistake' and gives Blue Origin the chance to compete with SpaceX again for a moon-lander contract
MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images; Joe Skipper / Reuters
Jeff Bezos sent an open letter to the NASA administrator offering to cover over $ 2 billion in costs for the Human Landing System program.
Blue Origin's offer would help him compete with SpaceX for a $ 2.9 billion NASA contract.
In the letter, Bezos criticized NASA's original decision to select SpaceX as the sole winner.
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Jeff Bezos' space company offers NASA to pay the billions in the cost of a contract with NASA to take astronauts to the moon.
Blue Origin said it would cover up to $ 2 billion in operating costs for the first two years of producing a lunar lander and waive payments for the first two years if NASA awards the company to the company. The company also offers to develop and launch a Pathfinder mission at its own expense, as well as work with NASA on a fixed-price contract that would free NASA from cost overruns.
The offer would potentially make a contract with Blue Origin a cheaper option than one with Elon Musk's company. SpaceX originally received NASA's Human Landing System program contract in April. NASA was forced to suspend the contract in May after Bezos' company protested the $ 2.9 billion contract, calling it "unfair". The contract remains suspended pending the decision on the protests.
In the offer letter, Bezos underscores his commitment to keep the Human Landing System program competitive by selecting two companies to build machines that will take astronauts to the moon, rather than just one. Prior to selecting a single contest winner, NASA had given SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics 10-month contracts to begin work on lunar landers so the agency could choose from a variety of options.
"Instead of this single-source approach, NASA should adopt its original competitive strategy," wrote Bezos. "Without competition, after a short contract period, NASA will have limited options when trying to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes and cost overruns."
In June, the Senate passed a technology and science bill that included an amendment to the bill that would allocate an additional $ 10 billion to the lunar lander program and oblige NASA to select a second company alongside SpaceX.
At the time, Musk's company opposed the change, saying the bill would give Bezos "a $ 10 billion single source handout".
In the open letter published Monday, Bezos targeted NASA's relationship with SpaceX.
"In April (prior to your confirmation as a NASA administrator) only one HLS bidder, SpaceX, was given the opportunity to revise its pricing and funding profile, which led to its selection," wrote Bezos. "Blue Origin was not offered the same opportunity. That was a mistake, it was unusual, and it was a missed opportunity. But it is not too late to remedy the situation. We are ready to help NASA with theirs." limit technical risks and solve their budget constraints. " and put the Artemis program back on a more competitive, credible and sustainable path. "
SpaceX and NASA spokesmen did not respond to a request for comment from Insider.
Blue Origin and SpaceX's battle for the $ 10 billion cash injection is the latest in a long rivalry between companies and their CEOs, two of the richest people in the world.
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