After fulfilling his childhood dream of traveling to space, American Business magnate and world’s richest person is now eyeing to explore space further with his space exploration company Blue Origin.
He has written an Open letter to the American Space authority NASA a discount of at least $2 billion for the agency to give his space company a lucrative human lunar landing system contract. SpaceX, the company helmed by another fellow Billionaire businessman and Jeff’s rival Elon Musk bagged the contract earlier this year.
In April this year, NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9bn contract to build a spacecraft to bring astronauts to the lunar surface as early as 2024 and rejected bids from the likes of Blue Origin and defence contractor Dynetics. For the bid, Blue Origin had partnered with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper.
Senior NASA official Kathy Lueders the contact was given to SpaceX owing to many factors including NASA’s own funding shortfalls, SpaceX’s proven record of orbital missions and other factors in a contract decision.
Bezos’ new offer is the latest in an escalating string of efforts to win the contract for Blue Origin as he has claimed that Blue Origin would waive payments in the government’s current fiscal year and the next ones after that up to $2 billion, and pay for an orbital mission to vet its technology. In exchange, Blue Origin is looking for a firm, fixed-price contract, and cover any system development cost overruns.
A NASA spokesperson said the agency is aware of Bezos’s letter but do not wish to comment further as Blue Origin has filed an official protest with the US Government Accountability Office accusing the agency of giving SpaceX an unfair advantage by allowing it to revise its pricing.
Although the GAO’s decision is expected by early August, it is highly unlikely that a reversal of NASA’s decision is possible.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
NASA is looking to return humans to the surface of the moon for the first time since 1972 under its Artemis program.
Bezos made the offer six days after he flew to the edge of the space alongside three crewmates aboard Blue Origin’s rocket-and-capsule New Shepard, a milestone for the company’s bid to become a major player in an emerging space tourism market.