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The easier it is to get to space, the more attainable it will be to engage in profitable and innovative space activities. Progress is already being made. British business magnate Richard Branson strapped himself into the cabin of the spaceplane VSS Unity, along with three employees of his space tourism company Virgin Galactic.

Just over a week later, in a move timed to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of Americans first landing on the moon, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was into a New Shepard capsule as a passenger on the first crewed flight conducted by his company, Blue Origin. The Bezos space company, seeks to make space travel cheaper through reusable launch vehicles.

Bezos on Monday offered to cover billions of dollars of NASA costs in exchange for a contract to build a lunar lander to land astronauts on the moon. The commercialization of space is well underway, and like the development of other new frontiers, it will benefit everyone, not just the rich.

Bezos said Blue Origin would waive all payments up to $2 billion from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the current and next two government fiscal years. Blue Origin would also fund its own pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit, according to Bezos. In return, the company requested a fixed-priced contract from the government agency.

“This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up,” Bezos said in an open letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

NASA in April awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX with a sole $2.89 billion contract to build the next crewed lunar lander under its Human Landing Systems program. Before selecting the winner of the contest, NASA gave 10-month study contracts to SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics to begin work on lunar landers.

“Instead of this single source approach, NASA should embrace its original strategy of competition,” Bezos said. “Without competition, a short time into the contract, NASA will find itself with limited options as it attempts to negotiate missed deadlines, design changes, and cost overruns.”

Author: ibrahim

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