Elon Musk recently won a coveted US government contract to build a spacecraft on the moon. Jeff Bezos was not happy.
The space race between the world’s two richest men began on Tuesday after Tesla chief Elon Musk tried to challenge a major NASA contract by Jeff Bezos.
The two billionaires, who were trying to launch long-range orbital rockets, were competing for a coveted US government contract to build a spacecraft to deliver astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.
Musk won. Bezos was not happy.
Bezos ‘Blue Origin lodged a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday, accusing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of moving bidders’ goal posts at the last minute.
Musk, who also runs SpaceX, hit back with a tweet that read, “I can’t get it up (into orbit) lol.”
I can’t get it up (in orbit) lol
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2021
He did not elaborate on the tweet, but pasted a screenshot of a 2019 report on Bezos revealing Blue Origin’s moon lander on the same Twitter thread.
Blue Origin is far behind SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) on orbital transport, losing billions of dollars in US national security launch contracts that begin in 2022. ULA is a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp.
These rocket startups are primarily focused on getting satellites to orbit customers at an affordable price and reusing rocket parts to keep costs down.
Earlier this month, NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract on Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics. The research project aims to put humans back on the moon for the first time since 1972.
“NASA executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin said in an emailed statement.
“Their decision eliminates competitive opportunities, drastically reduces the supply base, and not only delays, but also jeopardizes America’s return to the moon. For this reason, we have filed a protest with the GAO. “
The GAO also confirmed that Dynetics challenged NASA’s contract award to SpaceX. Dynetics did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Musk’s SpaceX bid on its own, while Amazon.com founder Bezos’ Blue Origin partnered with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp and Draper.
Blue Origin’s filing of the 50-page protest was reported earlier by The New York Times.