Bezos offers NASA $2 billion to build moon lander

Just days after flying to space, billionaire Jeff Bezos on Monday offered NASA $2 billion to make a spacecraft to land on the moon.

In a letter to NASA, Bezos said his aerospace company Blue Origin would waive payments up to $2 billion through next year and also pay for an orbital test mission to vet its technology.

In exchange, Blue Origin would be approved for a fixed-priced contract and cover any costs that run over budget.

He added that the contract would be good for NASA’s “short-term and long-term lunar ambitions”, as well as the country’s “national interest.”

NASA awarded rival billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk a nearly $3 billion contract to build a spacecraft that could bring astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.

In the process, they rejected a bid from Blue Origin and other partners.

The space agency said the decision was the “best value to the government,” and was based on SpaceX’s proven record of orbital missions, according to senior official Kathy Lueders.

SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment.

NASA, meanwhile, acknowledged Bezos’ letter, but wouldn’t comment further, referencing Blue Origin’s government-submitted complaint claiming the agency gave SpaceX special treatment by allowing it to revise its contract pricing.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to make a decision on the complaint by early August.

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