Jeff Bezos offers a $2 billion rebate to NASA for a lunar lander
Eva Deschamps / July 27, 2021
Billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of the space company Blue Origin, offered Nasa a $2 billion cut on Monday to let his company build a moon landing system.
The U.S. space agency's $2.9 billion manned landing system contract was awarded to rival SpaceX in April, but Blue Origin and a third company, Dynetics, have filed complaints that are pending a decision by the U.S. government's audit office.
The U.S. is seeking to return to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program, and then use the lessons learned to prepare for a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s
In an open letter to Nasa on Monday, Jeff Bezos said his offer would close the funding gap that led the U.S. space agency to choose only one company instead of two, which would then compete.
Since its failure in the Nasa bidding process, Blue Origin has led a frantic lobbying effort to overturn the decision, which led the U.S. Senate to pass a bill agreeing to allocate $10 billion for the manned landing system.
But the text is still being debated in the House of Representatives and has been called a bailout for Bezos by its critics.
According to Jeff Bezos, one of the advantages of the Blue Moon landing system, built by his company, is the use as fuel of liquid hydrogen, which can be extracted from lunar ice, in line with NASA's plans to use the Moon to refuel rockets for operations further out in the solar system.
He added that the company would test its lander in Earth orbit at its own expense.