Jeff Bezos offers Nasa $2bn to get moon mission contract

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Jeff Bezos offers Nasa $2bn to get moon mission contract
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Billionaire Jeff Bezos has offered to pay $2billion to Nasa if the US space agency awards his company a contract to make a spacecraft designed to land astronauts back on the moon.

His request comes months after Nasa first granted rival billionaire Elon Musk a $2.9billion contract to undertake the same mission as early as 2024.

The agency rejected bids from Bezos’ Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.

Nasa said its reason for refusing the Bezos deal was because of its own funding shortfalls. It also cited SpaceX’s proven record of orbital missions and other factors in a contract decision that senior Nasa official Kathy Lueders described as “what’s the best value to the government”.

 (PA)
(PA)

In a letter to Nasa administrator Bill Nelson, Bezos said Blue Origin would waive payments in the government’s current fiscal year and the next ones after that up to $2billion.

He also said he would pay for an orbital mission to vet its technology but, he added, this would only take place in exchange of the agency awarding him a firm and fixed-priced contract.

“Nasa veered from its original dual-source acquisition strategy due to perceived near-term budgetary issues, and this offer removes that obstacle,” Bezos wrote.

A Nasa spokesperson said the agency was aware of Bezos’s letter but declined to comment further, citing the protest Blue Origin filed with the US government Accountability Office accusing the agency of giving SpaceX an unfair advantage by allowing it to revise its pricing.

The US Government Accountability Office’s decision is expected by early August, though industry sources said Blue Origin views the possibility of a reversal as unlikely.

Bezos’ offer comes six days after he flew alongside three crew mates to the edge of space aboard Blue Origin’s rocket-and-capsule New Shepard, a milestone for the company’s bid to become a major player in an emerging space tourism market.

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