The Real Reason Jeff Bezos Is Suing NASA

A new chapter in the real-life soap opera that is the billionaire space race began in August 2021, when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sued NASA after the administration granted his rival Elon Musk a $2.9-billion contract to build a lunar landing module. According to the BBC, Bezos decried "fundamental issues" with the contract that was awarded to Musk's SpaceX, and not his space exploration company Blue Origin. The man who CBS News notes worked his employees so hard that they were forced to pee in water bottles to keep up alleged that NASA had been unfair. Bezos also claimed that NASA needed Blue Origin in order to get back to the Moon. "We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America," Bezos' company said in the court filing.

NASA awarded the contract to SpaceX in April, and despite Bezos' complaints, the administration appears to have had valid reasons for its decision. Let's take a look at NASA's reasons for choosing to work with Musk over Bezos.

NASA cited budget constraints and SpaceX's track record

What Jeff Bezos denounced as unfairness, NASA said was just the cost of doing business. The administration had requested $3.3 billion for the Moon project, but was only awarded $850 million. It simply didn't have the money to award contracts to two companies. Faced with such a considerable budget shortfall, NASA had to consider its history with SpaceX, which has already successfully executed missions in collaboration with the administration. It also helped that SpaceX's bid was significantly lower than Blue Origin's.

NASA has until October 12 to file a response to Bezos' lawsuit. Neither it nor SpaceX issued statements upon release of the news of Bezos' lawsuit. As usual, NASA's principal focus is on the stars. The space agency's human exploration chief Kathy Lueders outlined its mission and how SpaceX will help accomplish it back in April: "This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars." For now, it looks like Jeff Bezos might be left behind on Earth with nothing but his multiple houses, billions of dollars, and all our data he collects through Amazon.