Justin Bullock, FISM News
Jeff Bezos is attempting to buy his way into space. Bezos offered NASA $2 billion to receive the contract to make his space company the maker of the technology that will eventually put Americans back on the moon. NASA had previously offered a contract to the public to be their partner in the effort to return to the moon, and had selected Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the contract after considering bids from Bezos’s Blue Origin and others.
Bezos sent this last ditch attempt to secure the contract by way of an open letter to NASA’s head, Bill Nelson. In that letter Bezos offered 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 for NASA to vet its technology. If NASA accepted this offer then Blue Origin would receive exclusive right to a firm, fixed-priced contract, and Bezos’s company would also cover any system development cost overruns.
In the letter Bezos wrote,
NASA veered from its original dual-source acquisition strategy due to perceived near-term budgetary issues, and this offer removes that obstacle… Without competition, NASA‘s short-term and long-term lunar ambitions will be delayed, will ultimately cost more, and won’t serve the national interest.
For its part NASA has acknowledged Bezos’s letter but has not said whether or not it would sway their decision in favor of SpaceX. NASA did say that the reason they went with SpaceX is because they offer the best value for the government agency and also have a proven track record that is unmatched by Bezos’s Blue Origin as of yet. Musk’s SpaceX has flown a number of missions already including orbital missions to the International Space Station. This feat is unmatched by Bezos who has only achieved suborbital flights so far. Ultimately the Government Accountability Office will have a final review of the contract but it is expected that any change will be highly unlikely and that NASA will move forward with SpaceX.