Space Race: How Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Could Beat Elon Musk’s SpaceX to the Moon

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Last summer saw NASA award a $2.9 billion moon lander contract to SpaceX. The move favored Elon Musk‘s space company over that of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Currently, NASA is working diligently to put a manned crew on the surface of the moon. Their efforts mark a part of the agency’s Artemis mission which intends to see the first female astronaut and the first astronaut of color on Earth’s only natural satellite. Now, though, after issuing a lawsuit against NASA last year, Jeff Bezos and his company, Blue Origin, might just get a second chance at potentially beating Elon Musk to the moon.

At A Glance:

  • NASA announced on Wednesday its intent to add a second commercial space company to its roster.
  • Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin plan to submit a bid in the race to the moon.
  • Blue Origin aims to aid NASA in “permanent U.S. lunar presence.”

Jeff Bezos to Make Bid for NASA Moon Mission

When NASA awarded SpaceX the $2.9 billion moon lander contract last summer, it left a smarting mark on Bezos’ pride. NASA had initially intended to work with multiple partners. However, the national space agency shared $850 million in government funding shorted their budget for the 2021 moon lander development.

NASA further stated that of the bids received last year, SpaceX boasted the most cost-effective offer by “a wide margin.”

In response, Blue Origin slammed the national space agency. As per the New York Post, the company stated NASA had been “flawed” and “moved the goalposts at the last minute.”

Now though, following NASA’s pivotal announcement Wednesday, Bezos and Blue Origin have approached with a different sentiment. Of the agency’s decision to allow for competing companies to aid in the mission to the moon, Blue Origin stated it was “thrilled that NASA is creating competition by procuring a second human lunar landing system.”

The space company further added, “By doing so, NASA will establish the critical redundancy and robustness needed for establishing permanent U.S. lunar presence.”

NASA Expands Moon Mission Partnership

After exclusively working with SpaceX, NASA will now welcome a second space company. The partnership would help hasten its mission to the moon. Alongside SpaceX and Blue Origin, a third company, defense contractor, Dynetics, announced their plans to make a bid on the latest contract.

In response to the announcement Wednesday, the defense contractor said it was “pleased to learn of NASA’s plans.”

In speaking to NASA’s latest endeavor, the agency’s administrator, Bill Nelson, said, “I promised competition, so here it is.”

He further added that no matter which company receives the contract, they must work in conjunction to further space development.

“These are not isolated missions. Each is going to build on the past progress,” Nelson said.