The race to get humans back to the moon has become a clash between boisterous billionaires and a pair of senators who normally work the same side of the political aisle.
Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, both have space flight operations in Texas, and both want their craft to be first to the moon. NASA gave SpaceX a solo contract to build a human landing craft, but a group led by Blue Origin, and some on Capitol Hill, would like other organizations to be able to participate.
Tech expert Omar Gallaga told Texas Standard that SpaceX winning the contract on its own was a surprise. The plan to return to the moon was announced during the Trump administration, with an ambitious 2024 launch date. It was anticipated that multiple contractors would have a part in building the vehicle needed to land humans on the moon.
Highlights from this segment:
– Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, advocates reopening the contract to allow the group led by Blue Origin to be a part of it. Blue Origin is based in Washington. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a critic of Amazon, opposes the required budget amendment, calling it a “Bezos bailout.”
– Blue Origin is auctioning off a seat on an upcoming suborbital spaceflight, which is set to take off from West Texas on July 20, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Bidding has reached $2.8 million.