NASA’s contract, worth about $2.9 billion, to build a manned lunar lander was awarded last April to rival SpaceX, but “Blue Origin” and a third company, “Dynetics”, submitted objections to the outcome of the tender. The US Audit Bureau shall issue a decision in this regard.
The United States seeks to return to the moon by 2024 within the “Artemis” program, in preparation for a manned mission to Mars in the thirties of this century. In an open letter to NASA, Jeff Bezos considered his offer to “close the funding shortfall,” which prompted the US agency to award the contract to one company instead of two competing.
Blue Origin has launched a frantic lobbying campaign to overturn the decision since failing to win a NASA bid, prompting the US Senate to pass a bill approving $10 billion for the manned lander. But the bill is still being debated in the House of Representatives, and its opponents have described it as a “Bezos bailout.”
Jeff Bezos highlighted that one of the advantages of the “Blue Moon” lander that his company is building is that it uses liquid hydrogen as a fuel, as it can be extracted from the moon’s ice. He explained that the company will, at its own expense, conduct Earth orbit tests on its lander.