Until now, it seemed that Elon Musk was the king in the private sector when it comes to space exploration. While this may still be true, it won’t be the case in the future. NASA has decided that there will be competition in the space sector. This fact is evident from its new agreement. NASA has partnered with Blue Origin to transport astronauts to the moon. Blue Origin will develop a lunar lander that will enable NASA’s crew to reach the moon. This mission will take place after the third phase of NASA’s Artemis program in the same decade. Blue Origin’s flight will also be part of the Artemis program.
Hope for competition
Experts believe that this will mark the beginning of competition in the private sector. It is worth noting that Jeff Bezos, the owner of Blue Origin, and Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, are already considered competitors in the space industry. SpaceX has been receiving contracts from NASA, but now Blue Origin is also getting opportunities.
A $7 billion investment
Blue Origin’s project will cost around $7 billion, while NASA’s agreement is worth approximately $3.4 billion. John Couluris, the Vice President of Blue Origin, says that the company will contribute to the economy through its commercial network. Meanwhile, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that they are planning to make additional investments in the foundational infrastructure to get humans to Mars.
Bezos expresses joy
Nelson mentioned that NASA’s shared aspirations are now no less than his dreams of seeing Americans land on the moon during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Jeff Bezos also expressed his gratitude through a tweet and felt honored to embark on a new journey with NASA. Blue Origin’s team includes Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Astrobotic, and others under the leadership of the Diazite company LIDOS. Another opportunity is NASA’s Sustainable Lunar Development or SSD program. On the other hand, after SpaceX’s first crewed landing under the Artemis program in 2021, this is the second opportunity for competition for Elon Musk. This program is called the Human Landing System. It involved SpaceX building a variant of its Starship rocket for the Artemis program. Initially, NASA intended to include two companies in this program, but due to budget constraints, they chose SpaceX.