Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, released a letter addressed to NASA on Monday to help his business “Blue Origin” develop a Moon lander while proposing a $2 billion discount.
The $2.9 billion human landing system (HLS) contract was awarded to SpaceX in April, but Blue Origin and a third company, Dynetics, filed protests, which the US Government Accountability Office is currently evaluating.
Under the Artemis program, the US intends to return to the Moon by 2024 and use the lessons obtained to prepare for a crewed Mars mission in the 2030s.
In a letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Bezos noted that the offer would bridge the shortfall that prompted the space agency to select just one contractor rather than two that would compete.
Blue Origin has been aggressively campaigning for the verdict to be modified since losing the award, resulting in the Senate passing a resolution agreeing to increase the budget for the human lander system by $10 billion.
However, the proposal is still being reviewed in the House, and critics have nicknamed it the “Bezos Bailout.”
Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lander, according to Bezos, has an edge in that it uses liquid hydrogen for fuel, which can then be mined from lunar ice, in line with NASA’s intentions to use the Moon to replenish rockets for missions even more into the solar system.
He goes on to explain that the company would test its lander at its own expense in Earth orbit.