Amid a battle over a $2.9 billion contract to build a lunar lander for NASA, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on April 27 took a jab at rival billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space startup, Blue Origin. While taking to Twitter, Musk trolled Bezos and joked that the Amazon CEO “can’t get it up” to the orbit. While he did not elaborate on the tweet, he, however, shared a screenshot of a 2019 report about Bezos unveiling Blue Origin’s moon lander on the same Twitter thread.
Can’t get it up (to orbit) lol— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2021
The same day, Blue Origin lodged a 50-page protest against the decision with deferral auditors at the Government Accountability Office. Bezos’ company argued that NASA misjudged Blue Origin’s proposal in the three-way competition to build the new Moon lander, which also involved a bid from the Alabama-based defence firm Dynetics. It also called on the US Government Accountability Office to stay NASA’s deal with Musk’s aerospace company and rectify the “errors” in the entire procurement process that prohibited Bezos’ aerospace company’s proposal to be selected by NASA.
Blue Origin said in a statement on April 26 accompanying the challenge to NASA’s decision that the US space agency has “executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute. Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays but also endangers America’s return to the moon."
Meanwhile, the feud between Musk and Bezos began more than 15 years ago when a conversation about reusable rockets reportedly went south. Since then, the two have sparred frequently over their rival plans for colonising space and occasionally their other businesses, Tesla and Amazon. Their space plans, however, have been criticised for their perceived elitism and for directing massive amounts of resources to space travel that could be put to funding other efforts on Earth.