Last month, Sir Richard Branson won the first stage of the billionaire space race; when he made it into low-Earth orbit on board his spaceplane Unity22.
A short while later, Jeff Bezos followed suit on the New Shepard rocket; Blue Origin’s proposition for future commercial space exploration.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is last to launch a commercial rocket, but in one sense, it’s one step ahead in the game.
SpaceX is NASA’s choice for a Lunar lander; with the company winning the $2.9 billion contract to develop it in April this year. At the end of last month Bezos challenged the decision once more in an open-letter to NASA, which ultimately got shut down.
Bezos and Blue Origin’s take is that NASA made a poor choice when it opted for SpaceX’s modified Starship as the next Lunar lander.
Bezos is clearly not ready to let this be bygones, even though he’s pretty much exhausted every possibility of appeal.
This is the only possible explanation for an infographic posted to the Blue Origin website; which compares the Blue Origin and SpaceX rockets; and determines that the latter favors an approach that is “immensely complex & high risk” and, as such, illogical and dangerous.
You can find the infographic in the PDF file at the bottom of the page.
“There are an unprecedented number of technologies, developments, and operations that have never been done before for Starship to land on the Moon,” the text reads.
Among these, the text identifies the number of launches to be performed ahead of the Moon landing, the fact that it needs to refuel in orbit; and the need for an elevator to bring astronauts to the surface once the landing has been completed; due to the height of the hatch on the rocket.
Blue Origin claims to have an advantage over SpaceX on all these counts.
But it didn’t have the one that perhaps weighed heaviest with NASA: estimated cost. NASA was initially planning to award two contracts for the lander; but was forced to pick just one due to budget cuts.
SpaceX’s bid was of $2.9 billion, while Blue Origin’s was of $5.99 billion.
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