The proposal is as crazy as the ambition of the man behind it. In an open letter to NASA Director Bill Nelson, multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos offers to pay for the development of his lunar lander. The counterpart requested from the American space agency? A contract for this famous module during the missions of the Artemis program which must bring back the Man on the Moon in 2024.

The return of the Man on the Moon is wanted initially by Donald Trump who fixes the objective of 2024, in spite of the scepticism of many experts finding the untenable calendar. In order to return to our satellite in time, without spending hundreds of billions of dollars, NASA has very early made the choice to turn to the New Space and the private world.

A call for tenders was opened by the American agency and three viable projects were competing. Originally the American agency had promised to give financing to two of the three programs, so that these last ones go further in their development and are ready in time for 2024 and the first manned flight towards the Moon.

NASA has already made a choice

Finally, at the end of April, NASA gave its verdict and of the three companies present, SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics, only the first of the three was selected. A decision that made green with rage the founder of Amazon Jeff Bezos, who counted a lot on this lunar lander project to develop his space business.

If he has since been able to taste the joys of space, the anger of the richest man in the world is still the same. After suing the U.S. space agency, Bezos plays his last trump card with this open letter, where he offers a golden bridge to NASA. As he writes in black and white in his speech, this offer could allow “to put the project back on track now” referring to the schedule more than tense NASA, which may not keep its plan to return to the moon for 2024.

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A calculated schedule for Blue Origin

This proposal by Bezos is just another political-media battle between Blue Origin and NASA authorities. The founder of Amazon has never accepted that the U.S. space agency turns its back on the Starship project of SpaceX. After filing a complaint and freezing the funding of the program of Elon Musk Jeff Bezos publishes this letter, a week before the decision of the NASA.The final decision of the GAO, the body in charge of auditing the public accounts of the US federal budget.

It is thus the first of August that this story should, if not reach its end, take a new turn. The GAO could decide to break the SpaceX-NASA contract, or it could reject Blue Origin’s claims, putting the Blue Moon project out of the picture for good.

What’s in it for Blue Origin?

Jeff Bezos announced in his letter that he was “aware that he was in a position” to make this investment. The implication is that his personal fortune allows him to offer two billion dollars to NASA and thus reduce the bill for the American space agency. But if this philanthropic speech is a watered-down official version, the reality could be quite different. Indeed, Blue Origin has invested heavily in the development of its HLS, Blue Moon, the company does not want to see all this work reduced to ashes by a choice of NASA.

But also, on a longer term vision, the image of the return of the Man on the Moon will remain in the history books. For the posterity of Blue Origin, it is thus crucial that the first step of these men is made from a Blue Moon lander, rather than a Starship.

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After being overtaken by Richard Branson at the beginning of the month, Jeff Bezos does not want to be the eternal loser of this space race and he seems ready to make very big sacrifices to get the Moon, at least, it does not scare him.