Bezos` $2bn offer to get back in race to the Moon
International desk || shiningbd
Jeff Bezos has offered to cover $2bn (£1.4bn) of Nasa costs in order to be reconsidered for a key contract to build a Moon landing vehicle.
In April, the space agency awarded the $2.9bn contract to Elon Musk, rejecting a bid from Bezos' company Blue Origin.
The award is for building the landing system that will carry astronauts down to the lunar surface as early as 2024.
Nasa could only award the contract to one company, not two as expected because of a funding shortfall.
The space agency had received only $850m of the $3.3bn it requested from Congress to build the Moon lander.
In a letter to Nasa's administrator Bill Nelson, released on Monday, Mr Bezos wrote: "Blue Origin will bridge the HLS [Human Landing System] budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2bn to get the programme back on track right now.
"This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments."
At the time of the award, Nasa's human exploration chief Kathy Lueders admitted that the space agency's current budget precluded it from selecting two companies.
Nasa also cited the proven record of orbital missions by Elon Musk's SpaceX firm as a factor in the award. Cost is also thought to have played a role: SpaceX's bid was the lowest-priced by some distance.
The decision meant that SpaceX's cylindrical Starship vehicle would carry the astronauts in Nasa's first mission to the lunar surface since Apollo 17 in 1972.