Elon Musk Says Jeff Bezos Would Be On Pluto ‘if Lawyers & Lobbying Could Get You To Orbit’
Elon Musk’s SpaceX won a lucrative contract to develop a version of its starship spaceship to take astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024, while Blue Origin hoped NASA would pay both firms to develop alternative lenders. Still, funding cuts led the space agency to go with only SpaceX, prompting the firm to file a 50-page protest to the Government Accountability Office.
Officials denied this appeal that accused NASA of ‘moving the goalposts a the last minute.’ This provoked Musk to utter what he did.
Elon Musk Says Jeff Bezos Would Be On Pluto
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took a jibe at the Blue Origin’s founder, Jeff Bezos, saying the former would be on Pluto by now if lobbying and lawyers could get you to orbit.
Blue Origin was hoping NASA would pay two firms to develop alternative lenders. Still, funding cuts led the space agency to just SpaceX, prompting the firm to file a 50-page protest to the Government Accountability Office.
Officials denied this appeal that accused NASA of ‘moving the goalposts at the last minute,’ prompting Musk to say: ‘If lobbying and lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto [right now].’
Musk was quick to agree with the tweet and added his own
The battle isn’t a one-way street, though, as Blue Origin shared an infographic of the SpaceX lunar Starship last week and called it an ‘immensely complex and high risk’ approach for sending the first woman and next man to the moon in 2024.
Elon Musk Vs. Jeff Bezos
Bezos’s recent trip made him the second person to fly out to space financed by private money. While Musk nurses these dreams of traveling to space himself, he has ensured that his company is focused on developing and deploying the Falcon 9 rocket, where possible. With 122 launches under its belt, the reusable rocket has delivered cargo and crews to the International Space Station (ISS).
After his trip to space on board the New Shepard Rocket last month, Jeff Bezos stands proud of his company, Blue Origin. But that did not stop Elon Musk from taunting the company and its founder on Twitter. Both men started their space companies near about the same time, but Musk’s SpaceX is turning out to be the favorite contractor for space missions.
In comparison, Bezos’ Blue Origins hardly has much to boast about, apart from its recent mission. The New Shepard rocket that took Bezos to space is still completing its test flights. Another reusable rocket, the New Glenn, designed to be bigger and better than the Falcon 9, is still in development, although it was scheduled for a test flight in 2020.
The two companies worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop its Human Landing System (HLS) to send a crewed mission to the moon. However, after initial work with both parties, NASA took a call and recently granted the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX. Unhappy with the award, Blue Origins criticized NASA for shifting the goalposts at the last moment and taking “high risk” to work with SpaceX alone.
In an open letter written to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, Bezos reiterated their complaint and offered a heavy discount and a new pathfinder mission for free to get back in NASA’s good books and be part of the HLS program. Blue Origins protested formally with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), but the government agency also shut that down.
While Musk had tweeted in support of that decision, he did not refrain from bringing it up once again when the opportunity arose. A Twitter account posted some of Blue Origins’ failures and their decision to protest NASA’s HLS decision.
The Bottom Line
Blue Origin’s protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) was rejected after the ‘congressional watchdog’ found NS did nothing wrong.
It found ‘NASA did not violate procurement law or regulation when it decided to make only one award,’ which was Blue Origin’s entire defense on the matter.
Last month, just before Bezos went to the edge of space on the Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, he published an open letter to NASA calling for competition to be restored to the Artemis mission.
He offered to cover billions of dollars of costs involved in developing the lander, saying he was fortunate to be in a position to do so.
This prompted Musk to tweet: ‘Want to say thanks to those in government who fight hard for the right thing to happen, despite extreme pressure to do otherwise. Therein lies the core goodness of the American state.’
The Artemis mission, set for 2024, will see four spacefaring heroes board the Orion spacecraft that will be rocketed off to space by NASA’s powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket – due to make its debut launch early next year.
While Bezos is unlikely to take this up on Twitter with Musk, there is little his space company has to show at the moment as well. So will his lawyers respond instead?