Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos walks with Blue Origin’s President and CEO Bob Smith after Bezos flew on the corporate’s inaugural flight to the sting of area, within the close by city of Van Horn, Texas, U.S. July 20, 2021.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
Jeff Bezos’ area firm stays on the offensive in criticizing NASA’s resolution to award Elon Musk’s SpaceX with the only real contract to construct a car to land astronauts on the moon, regardless of the federal government final week denying Blue Origin’s protest.
In an infographic revealed on Blue Origin’s web site and seen on Wednesday, the corporate referred to as SpaceX utilizing Starship to move NASA astronauts to the lunar floor an “immensely advanced & excessive threat” method. Blue Origin is referring to a criticism that NASA officers made in evaluating Starship for the lunar lander program.
“There are an unprecedented variety of applied sciences, developments, and operations which have by no means been executed earlier than for Starship to land on the Moon,” Blue Origin wrote.
Final Friday, the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace denied Blue Origin’s protest of NASA awarding SpaceX with a $2.9 billion contract beneath the Human Touchdown System program. In three one-page documents, Blue Origin decried NASA’s resolution as “unsuitable for America’s management in area” and repeated its prior critique that the area company “ran an inconsistent and unfair competitors” — though the congressional watchdog dominated that NASA didn’t.
“NASA ran a flawed acquisition and ignored the numerous dangers of a one supplier mannequin,” Blue Origin wrote.
The corporate desires NASA to award a second contract beneath the unique Human Touchdown System acquisition construction. Whereas NASA has mentioned it could provide future contracts beneath HLS by Lunar Exploration Transportation Companies awards, these contracts are anticipated to be $45 million or much less every.
Starship prototype rocket SN15 launches from Boca Chica, Texas.
Starship prototype rocket SN15 touches down on the corporate’s touchdown pad on Might 5, 2021, in Boca Chica, Texas.
Blue Origin made further technical comparisons, noting that SpaceX’s plan requires greater than 10 Starship launches to land as soon as on the moon and must be refueled in orbit, “a course of that has additionally by no means been executed earlier than.”
Lastly, Blue Origin in contrast the peak of the astronaut exit hatches. Starship’s exit is 126 toes off the bottom, and conceptually makes use of an elevator to deliver astronauts to the floor, whereas the Blue Origin lander is 32 toes off the bottom and requires crew drop down an extended ladder.
One comparability that Blue Origin didn’t make was in regard to price. NASA cited price as a significant component in its resolution to solely choose one winner beneath the Human Touchdown System, attributable to Congress granting the company a fraction of its requested finances for this system. SpaceX bid $2.9 billion, whereas Blue Origin was roughly double at $5.99 billion.
Within the first spherical of Human Touchdown System contracts, NASA handed out practically $1 billion in idea growth awards – with SpaceX receiving $135 million, Dynetics getting $253 million, and Blue Origin receiving $579 million.
A mockup of the crew lander car at NASA’s Johnson Area Middle in August 2020.
Bezos initially unveiled a lunar lander called Blue Moon in May 2019, before pivoting the next year to partner with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper on a different concept for the Human Landing System. While the company has not tested any spacecraft in orbit, its partners have — a point Blue Origin emphasized by saying that its lunar lander “system is entirely built on heritage systems and proven technologies that are flying today.”
For its part, Blue Origin leverages the rocket engine and landing technologies its honed with its suborbital space tourism rocket New Shepard over the course of 16 flights.
Blue Origin also emphasized that its approach was simpler than SpaceX’s, as Bezos’ lander “only requires three launches” and has “far fewer in-space rendezvouses.”
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