The battle for domination of space by private companies is not new. The latest competition saw Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos in the race to make commercial space tourism a reality. Now SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has robbed Bezos’ Blue Origin by hiring a high-profile strategic consulting firm after losing a $2.9 billion NASA lunar probe contract (about Rs. 21,540 crores) for SpaceX. Without naming Bezos, Musk said the billionaire should “consider spending some money” on real lunar landing hardware rather than “shady lobbyists.”
This seems to suggest that bidding for Blue Origin required more technical expertise.
He should consider spending some money on real lunar module hardware instead of shady lobbyists
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2021
Blue Origin has already sued the US government over the contract. In its lawsuit filed in the US Federal Claims Court, the company said it is “an attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System.”
Under its Artemis program, NASA had sought proposals for a spacecraft that would take astronauts to the lunar surface. In April, the US space agency signed a contract with SpaceX and asked it to build a spacecraft capable of bringing humans to the Moon again by 2024.
Other bidders, including Blue Origin, protested the contract being given to a single venture, arguing that NASA was obligated to make multiple concessions. Blue Origin argued that NASA also favored SpaceX by allowing it to revise its prices. He lobbied hard to ensure that the decision is reversed. Bezos’ company also filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Office, which upheld NASA’s decision in July.
Even when Branson defeated Bezos in the first round of the commercial space race in July, Musk sided with Branson. Rivals Musk and Bezos have long shared a cold relationship on social media.
NASA’s Artemis program aims to return humans to the moon and build a lunar orbital station. In the second part, a manned mission will be sent to Mars in the 2030s. SpaceX, founded by Musk in 2002, is currently NASA’s main private sector partner.