Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has poked fun at Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos after the latter’s space exploration company Blue Origin protested NASA’s award of a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX.
What Happened: The New York Times reported that Blue Origin filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office on Monday, challenging NASA’s award of a lunar lander contract to Musk’s SpaceX earlier this month.
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in an interview with the New York Times that NASA’s decision was flawed as it misjudged advantages of Blue Origin’s proposal and downplayed the technical challenges related to SpaceX. He also said NASA had placed a bigger emphasis on bottom-line cost than it said it would.
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However, the Blue Origin-led bid, at $6.0 billion, was more than double the price of SpaceX’s bid, according to the report.
In response to a tweet by a New York Times reporter, Musk poked fun at Bezos and Blue Origin for not having achieved a successful orbital spaceflight with any of its rockets.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 27, 2021
Why It Matters: NASA said earlier this month it has awarded the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to develop a commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the moon. NASA is returning to lunar exploration with the Artemis program, which plans to send four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft to lunar orbit.
SpaceX was the sole winner in the competition, beating Blue Origin and Leidos Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LDOS)-owned defense contractor Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama. NASA was previously expected to choose two of the three teams to competitively build lunar landers.
Nevertheless, the longstanding feud between Musk and Bezos, especially as it relates to their competing rocket companies, is well known. Both the billionaires are in a race to make space travel more affordable.
SpaceX is the first private company to complete manned and unmanned missions to the International Space Station.
In 2000, Bezos founded Blue Origin, a company he hoped could someday lower the cost of space travel. In 2017, Bezos committed to selling $1 billion of his Amazon.com shares annually to help fund Blue Origin.
Price Action: Tesla shares closed 1.2% higher in Monday’s regular trading session at $738.20, but declined almost 2.5% in the after-hours session to $719.85.
Amazon shares closed 2% higher in Monday’s regular trading session at $3,409.00 and further rose almost 0.9% in the after-hours session to $3,438.00.
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