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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin just landed a major win over Elon Musk's SpaceX and could soon get billions more in NASA money

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Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty/Axel Springer
  • The Senate passed a tech-and-science bill on Tuesday.

  • It included an amendment that Blue Origin had pushed for and SpaceX had lobbied against.

  • It tells NASA to find a second contractor, in addition to SpaceX, for its moon-lander project.

  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Tech daily newsletter.

A giant tech-and-science bill the Senate passed on Tuesday could give Jeff Bezos' aerospace company, Blue Origin, a boost in its rivalry with SpaceX.

The sweeping US Innovation and Competition Act would pump $250 billion into research in science and technology in the US.

An amendment to the bill would allocate an extra $10 billion to NASA's moon-lander program and require NASA to pick a second company for the project in addition to Elon Musk's SpaceX, which won its $2.9 billion contract in April.

Blue Origin had been lobbying for the extra money and hopes to be the second company NASA picks. Blue Origin has protested SpaceX's selection, calling it "unfair" and filing an official complaint with the Government Accountability Office.

In May, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington submitted the amendment requiring NASA to award a second contract and allocate the extra funding between SpaceX and the second contractor. It didn't mention Blue Origin, but the company is based in Washington.

SpaceX pushed back, handing out flyers on Capitol Hill saying the bill would give Bezos "a $10 billion sole-source hand-out." Blue Origin replied with leaflets that said "What is Elon Musk afraid of... a little competition?"

Sen. Bernie Sanders also pushed back and tried to submit an amendment to "eliminate the multi-billion dollar Bezos Bailout." According to The Washington Post, Sanders voted against the bill, which passed 68-32 and now goes to the House.

The amendment that passed was lightly modified, The Verge reported - Cantwell's original amendment had given NASA 30 days to pick a second contractor, but that was lengthened to 60 days.

Blue Origin and SpaceX's fight over the $10 billion cash injection is the latest development in a long rivalry between the companies and their CEOs, two of the richest people on the planet. Bezos announced on Monday that on July 20 he would fly into space aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft with his brother, Mark Bezos.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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