WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Jeff Bezos has offered NASA a $2 billion funding in exchange for a contract with his Blue Origin company to build a lunar lander on the moon.
- Bezos asked the space agency to let go of its ‘single source approach,’ after it awarded an exclusive contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
- Last July 20, the Blue Origin Founder reached the space’s edge onboard the New Shepard rocket.
Business tycoon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos offered to cover up to $2 billion dollars of NASA’s fundings in exchange for a contract to build a lunar lander that would be used by landing astronauts to the moon.
Bezos announced that his company would waive NASA’s payments for up to a couple of billion dollars in the present and next two government fiscal years, and also offered to finance its own pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit. All these in exchange for a contract.
“This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up,” Bezos wrote in an open letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Last April, NASA, through its Human Landing Systems program, awarded an exclusive contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX worth $2.89 billion to build the next crewed lunar lander. Before the contract was given, the space agency provided a 10-month study contract to Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics to kick start working on the project.
“Instead of this single source approach, NASA should embrace its original strategy of competition,” Bezos said. “Without competition, a short time into the contract, NASA will find itself with limited options as it attempts to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes, and cost overruns.”
Early this month, Bezos boarded his company’s New Shepard rocket bound to space. Together with three crew members, Bezos experienced floating while in zero gravity for a few minutes before returning back to Earth.
Bezos and fellow business mogul Richard Branson were the first two businessmen who have already reached the edge of space. Both billionaires were on a mission to launch commercial space tourism in the years to come. Branson’s Virgin Galactic has reportedly sold flight tickets with a price of around $200,000 to $250,000 per head.
With an estimated value of not lower than $420 billion, the space tourism market would be just one component of the space economy.