The billionaire owner of the "Blue Origin" space company, Jeff Bezos, offered on Monday, July 26, 2021 to the US space agency (NASA) a $2 billion discount aimed at getting his company to build a lunar lander. </p><div> <p>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 is supposed to 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.
And Jeff Bezos considered in an open letter to “NASA” Monday that his offer allows “to bridge the funding shortfall” that prompted the US Agency to award the contract to one company instead of two competing.
Blue Origin launched a frantic lobbying campaign to overturn the decision since it failed to win the 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 its use of liquid hydrogen as a fuel that can be extracted from the moon’s ice, which is in line with NASA’s plans to use the moon to fuel rockets during distant operations in the solar system.
He added that the company will, at its own expense, conduct Earth orbit tests on its lander.
“We stand ready to assist NASA in reducing its technical risks, unraveling its financial constraints, and returning the Artemis program to a more competitive, credible, and sustainable path,” Jeff Bezos wrote in the conclusion of his book.
However, it is not certain that Bezos’ last-minute initiative will change the outcome of the bidding.