Recently, Elon Musk received a lucrative U.S. government contract to develop a moon spacecraft. Bezos wasn’t pleased.
The space race between the world’s two richest men accelerated on Tuesday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk took a shot at Jeff Bezos’ attempt to contest a big NASA deal.
The two billionaires, who tried to launch long-range orbital rockets, competed for a lucrative U.S. government contract to construct a spacecraft to carry astronauts to the moon by 2024.
Musk’s won. Bezos was unhappy.
On Monday, Bezos’ Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), accusing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of shifting last-minute goalposts for contract bidders.
Musk, who also leads SpaceX, shot back with a tweet saying: “Can’t get it (to orbit) lol.”
He did not comment on the tweet, but pasted a screenshot of Bezos’ 2019 study announcing Blue Origin’s moon lander on the same Twitter thread.
Blue Origin fell well behind SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on orbital transportation, losing trillions of dollars in US national security launch contracts starting in 2022. ULA is between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp.
These rocket startups primarily aim to send customer satellites into orbit at an inexpensive price and reuse rocket parts to keep costs in check.
NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract for Blue Origin and defence contractor Dynetics earlier this month. The sought-after mission aims at first putting humans back on the moon since 1972.
“NASA acquired a faulty Human Landing System software and changed the goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin said in an emailed statement.
“Their decision reduces competition opportunities, greatly narrows the supply base, not only slows, but also threatens America’s return to the moon. That’s why we’ve lodged a GAO protest. “
GAO also reported that Dynetics questioned SpaceX’s NASA contract award. Dynetics did not immediately answer a Reuters request for comment.
Amazon.com founder Bezos’ Blue Origin collaborated with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp, and Draper.
The New York Times previously published Blue Origin’s 50-page protest.
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