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Jeff Bezos offers $2B incentive to NASA to include Blue Origin in moon plans

  • July 28, 2021

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos offered NASA a $2 billion incentive to include a human landing system made by his aerospace company, Blue Origin, as part of plans to return to the moon.

In an open letter posted to Blue Origin’s website, Bezos questioned the space agency’s decision to sign a multiyear deal with competing firm SpaceX to use its lunar lander, or Human Landing System (HLS).

“That decision broke the mold of NASA’s successful commercial space programs by putting an end to meaningful competition for years to come,” Bezos wrote.

In the letter, Bezos urged NASA to use Blue Origin’s lander. Among the terms of Bezos’ offer, Blue Origin would waive up to $2 billion in payments to Blue Origin this fiscal year and the next two government fiscal years. 

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“I am honored to offer these contributions and am grateful to be in a financial position to be able to do so,” Bezos wrote. “NASA veered from its original dual-source acquisition strategy due to perceived near-term budgetary issues, and this offer removes that obstacle.”

In April, NASA announced it chose SpaceX, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, to continue development of the first commercial lunar lander that will take American astronauts to the moon as part of its Artemis program. The contract with SpaceX is valued at $2.89 billion.

In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, NASA said it is aware of Bezos’ letter but would not comment because of litigation related to Human Landing System protests filed with the Government Accountability Office. 

The letter follows Bezos’ successful first trip to space aboard the Blue Origin vessel New Shepard last week. Joining him on the flight were his brother, Mark, aviator Wally Funk and Oliver Daemen, 18, who got the seat after the winner of an auction for a spot on the flight bowed out.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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