The space race between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos went into hyperdrive after Tesla’s founder criticized Amazon CEO’s attempt to raise questions regarding a major NASA contract.
The two billionaires are leaving no stone unturned in a bid to launch long-range orbital rockets. Musk and Bezos are competing for a contract from the government to make a spaceship that will carry astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.
Musk won the coveted contract, and Bezos was understandably not happy. On Monday, Bezos’ Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), claiming that NASA moved the goalposts for contract bidders at the last minute.
Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2021
Musk clapped back with a tweet that said, “Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol.”
Without elaborating on the tweet, Musk shared a screenshot of a 2019 report about the 57-year-old internet entrepreneur unveiling Blue Origin’s moon lander on the same Twitter thread.
As far as orbital transportation is concerned, Blue Origin falls far behind SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) and has lost out on billions of dollars worth of U.S. national security launch contracts that kicks off next year. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co.
These rocket startups aim at sending satellites for clients into orbit at an affordable price and reuse parts of the rockets to minimize costs. NASA awarded SpaceX the lunar contract over Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics.
The project aims to take people on the moon for the first time since 1972. “NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin wrote in an emailed statement.
“Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America’s return to the moon. Because of that, we’ve filed a protest with the GAO.”
The GAO revealed that Dynetics challenged the NASA contract award to SpaceX. While SpaceX bid alone, Bezos’ Blue Origin collaborated with Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp, and Draper.
The filing of the 50-page protest by Blue Origin was originally reported by the New York Times.