The SpaceX versus Blue Origin competition intensifies after Elon Musk mocked Jeff Bezos' NASA Moon mission complaint and Blue Origin spacecraft through his tweets.
Recently, NASA officially awarded its Human Landing Systems (HLS) contract to SpaceX in a $2.9 billion deal. NASA reasoned that budget constraints limited their choice to one space company, denying the other HLS proposals by Blue Origin and Dynetics.
Former CEO and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was not happy with this development. He filed a complaint against the SpaceX contract with NASA and counter proposed his Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) with a $2 billion discount.
NASA reportedly rejected the proposal and confirmed that SpaceX Starship would have the right to put the first woman and person of color on the Moon for the Artemis Program.
This, however, led to a savage battle on social medi--and probably on court soon.
Elon Musk Destroys Jeff Bezos' Moon Mission Complaint
Musk is rather famous for his ruthless tweets. He recently showed that in response to Jeff Blue Origin attacks on his Starship.
16 flights is extremely unlikely. Starship payload to orbit is ~150 tons , so max of 8 to fill 1200 ton tanks of lunar Starship.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 11, 2021
Without flaps & heat shield, Starship is much lighter. Lunar landing legs don’t add much (1/6 gravity). May only need 1/2 full, ie 4 tanker flights.
The Washington Post space reporter Christian Davenport recently tweeted a few highlights of Blue Origin's complaint, which was submitted to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Blue Origin representatives wrote that "SpaceX's complex approach requires 16 consecutive launches," referring to its refueling rocket systems. To emphasize, the post also said that "[SpaceX issues] will prevent the U.S. from landing on the Moon in a safe and sustainable way."
Elon Musk was quick to defend his spacecraft, replying that "16 flights is extremely unlikely." Musk pointed out that it would only take eight refuel rockets to fill in Starship tanks. He also said that Starship spacecraft is a lot lighter because it had no "flaps & heat shield," a jab on Blue Origin's design.
According to ScreenRant, the SpaceX Starship is designed to refuel without landing. The spacecraft would get its fuel by entering a stable orbit around Earth, waiting for the refuel rockets launched from SpaceX to intercept it. After its operation, the spacecraft should get enough fuel for its whole mission.
Elon Musk Tweets a Deflated Blue Origin Moon Lander
Hours after the first tweet was posted, Davenport shared another tweet about Blue Origin's complaint. The document shared that Blue Origin is still "hopeful that NASA will take advantage of [our] offer to waive $2 billion in development fees."
Somehow, this wasn’t convincing … pic.twitter.com/qAn8Y6i5Ys— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2021
Musk took it as an opportunity to post a savage tweet saying, "Somehow, this wasn't convincing ..." which featured a photo of a deflated-looking Blue Origin Moon lander, presumably used for early mockup models. The tweet got over 900 comments, 1,000 retweets and 18,000 likes as of time of writing.
It is worth noting that NASA remains impartial to the competition between these two space companies. Instead, NASA seems focused on its own progress for the Artemis Program to bring back humans to the Moon. Unfortunately, recent reports said that the mission might be pushed back by a few years due to a number of factors, including the worldwide pandemic. Space enthusiasts have to wait a bit longer for the official updates on Artemis Program.
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