SpaceX and Blue Origin Have Intense Battle Over NASA Lunar Lander Contract

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are officially at odds. The two companies have made headlines launching space expeditions. Now they are battling over a Nasa lunar lander contract. A lawsuit has been filed, and billions of dollars are on the line.

The billionaire space race

The booster for Blue Origin’s New Shepard sits on the landing pad.
The booster for Blue Origin’s New Shepard sits on the landing pad | Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, a year before Tesla was founded. In nearly two decades, the company has experienced disastrous failures. Through trial and error, it has also made historic accomplishments. Elon isn’t the only billionaire with his eyes on the stars.

Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest man. The Amazon founder changed the way that most of the world shops online. Like Musk, Bezos had otherworldly ambitions for years. He founded the Blue Origin aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company back in the year 2000.

Blue Origin has been relatively low-key until recently. Blue Origin is active, and Bezos himself took a trip to space. Now the company is competing with SpaceX. According to Business Insider, the two companies are currently fighting over a $2.3 billion contract to get astronauts to the moon. Bezos believes that Musk’s SpaceX was unfairly rewarded this contract by NASA.

Why is SpaceX’s NASA lunar lander contract so important?

The NASA seal on a protective box for a camera near the space shuttle Endeavour.
The NASA seal on a protective box for a camera near the space shuttle Endeavour | Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

Bezos and Blue Origin’s attack on the SpaceX lunar lander contract seems very personal because of funding reasons. Multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos solely funds Blue Origin. SpaceX, on the other hand, relies on contracts such as the lunar lander contract for funding. Bezos is after SpaceX’s bread and butter with the lawsuit he is filing against the company.

NASA contracts are important for Elon and SpaceX because they keep the lights…and the rockets on. They are becoming increasingly important for Bezos because these contracts can secure funding that the billionaire seems unwilling to provide Blue Origin with himself. After all, what’s a business without customers?

SpaceX and Blue Origin are fighting over contracts from the American government and NASA because both companies need them to grow. These contracts could play pivotal roles in both companies’ timelines. The only thing keeping the billionaires from their dreams…is each other.

Which company is most likely to win the space race?

Jeff Bezos speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space during a press conference.
Jeff Bezos speaks about his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space during a press conference | Joe Raedle via Getty Images

It’s important to understand that Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are trying to accomplish different things with their respective companies. Bezos is essentially trying to establish colonies in space, while Elon’s goal seems slightly more self-serving. Elon and SpaceX have been able to secure many more contracts than Blue Origin so the company is leaps and bounds ahead from a business reputation standpoint with its customer base.

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin can successfully achieve Bezos’ wild vision of making space more habitable in time, or at least it has the best chance because of its founder’s insane wealth. But can the company be successful without trying to snub SpaceX in the process? Is the vastness of space ironically not big enough for Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?

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