Billionaire Jeff Bezos has offered to cover $2 billion (nearly $1.7 billion) in NASA costs to requalify for a major contract to build a lunar lander.
The rover should take astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024. Then the United States plans to use the experience gained to prepare for a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
in a April The US space agency has awarded the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX from rival Elon Musk. NASA turned down an offer from Bezos’ subsidiary Blue Origin. She was only able to award the contract to one company, not two as initially expected, due to lack of funding. The space agency received only $850 million of the $3.3 billion it asked Congress to build a lunar probe.
Bezos, who was just in space, has now open letter Written to NASA. It states that Blue Origin will “close the funding gap by canceling payments of up to $2 billion over the next two fiscal years to get the program back on track.” (…) This offer is not a deferment, but a complete and permanent waiver of these payments.
Bezos rescue operation
Since Blue Origin failed to win NASA’s bid, I’ve lobbied frantically to reverse the decision. This eventually led to the US Senate passing a bill appropriating $10 billion for a manned landing system. However, this bill is still pending in the House of Representatives and has been dubbed “Saving Bezos” by critics.
According to Jeff Bezos, one of the advantages of the blue moon landing system created by his company is the use of liquid hydrogen as a fuel. Liquid hydrogen can be extracted from moon ice. This is in line with NASA’s plans to use the Moon to refuel rockets for operations farther into the Solar System. The billionaire added that the company will test its own lander in orbit at its own expense.
It is not certain whether Bezos’ last-minute intervention would do anything. NASA has not yet responded to the open letter.
Check out the photos below from Bezos’ first successful spaceflight in his New Shepard spacecraft. “The best day of my life,” said the richest man in the world.
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