Jeff Bezos has Lunar Fever.

And he’s ready to spend billions of dollars right here on Earth* to break it:

With that in mind and on behalf of the National Team, we formally offer the following for your consideration:

  • Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2B to get the program back on track right now. This offer is not a deferral, but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up. 
  • Blue Origin will, at its own cost, contribute the development and launch of a pathfinder mission to low-Earth orbit of the lunar descent element to further retire development and schedule risks. This pathfinder mission is offered in addition to the baseline plan of performing a precursor uncrewed landing mission prior to risking any astronauts to the Moon. This contribution to the program is above and beyond the over $1B of corporate contribution cited in our Option A proposal that funds items such as our privately developed BE-7 lunar lander engine and indefinite storage of liquid hydrogen in space. All of these contributions are in addition to the $2B waiver of payments referenced above. 
  • Finally, Blue Origin will accept a firm, fixed-priced contract for this work, cover any system development cost overruns, and shield NASA from partner cost escalation concerns.

Via Hot Air. Now that Bezos can demonstrate he can launch and retrieve an automated manned vessel, he wants in. And he’s willing to pump that money into the economy now in order to — well, take your pick on his long-term goals, whether they be squalid or noble. Or possibly both. And I don’t much care, as long as it doesn’t interfere with existing contracts. I don’t care if there’s one company or two that’s capable of going to the moon; I just want a proper space infrastructure built, and I don’t want it built by the People’s Republic of China. The more, the merrier.

Moe Lane

*I will not pretend that spaceships are made out of paper-mache dollar bills which are then sent up into space in a fit of spiteful potlatch. The money is “spent right here on Earth:” it’s just that certain sorts object to where the money is being spent (i.e., not on their pet projects).

2 thoughts on “Jeff Bezos has Lunar Fever.”

  1. I rather prefer two companies in a given industry, when I can get ’em. Monopolies suck almost as much as communism.
    I don’t see, among this turn of the wheel’s Howard Hughes analogs, a lack of money or people willing to try to reach Delos D. Harriman’s mythical achievements … and they do often seem to achieve quite a lot out of simple egomania, wanting to “be the first”.
    I would *prefer* a more direct, “in spite of government” approach .. but I doubt that’s feasible without driving Bezos to, say, acquire Cuba…
    Any further on-topic discussion would likely engage the shock collar, so I’ll desist .. except to note the short stories almost write themselves.

  2. Bezos knows that he’s quite a bit behind Musk, and needs to do something if he wants people to keep thinking he’s relevant (since his recent lawsuit didn’t work). Meanwhile, Musk keeps sending stuff up for dirt cheap. Musk just got the contract to launch NASA’s upcoming Europa mission. Bezos essentially has to give his stuff away if he wants NASA to pay any attention to him, since Musk is so far ahead, and running launches for so little expense.

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