Since starting his own rocket company, Jeff Bezos has entered into direct competition with Elon Musk. Recently, Bezos’s company Blue Origin registered an official protest about NASA’s latest contract with SpaceX. As Blue Origin and SpaceX clash, they are competing in sphere of public opinon. The companies’ latest dispute involves NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS). Originally, the HLS was supposed to allow two private space companies to compete to build lunar landing craft. Recently, however, NASA’s plans took a turn that Jeff Bezos found disturbing. In early April, NASA announced that only SpaceX would participate in the HLS program. NASA explained this unexpected move as a cost-saving measure.
At the direction of Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin CEO Robert Smith immediately expressed his deep disapproval. Taking to Twitter, Smith claimed that NASA’s decision was very flawed. According to Smith, NASA misjudged the cost-effectiveness of Blue Origin’s HLS proposal. Smith also claimed that NASA had unfairly downplayed the technical challenges associated with SpaceX’s HLS plan. Showing his trademark irreverence, Musk immediately responded by mocking Smith and Blue Origin.
Blue Origin wasn’t the only company upset by NASA’s HLS decision. The private spacecraft designer Dynetics was also incensed by NASA’s controversial decision. Blue Origin and Dynetics both filed official complaints with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO has until early August to rule on the dispute.
As the first and second wealthiest men in the world, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos naturally receive plenty of press attention. True to form, the media has covered this latest billionaire dust-up with something approaching glee. It is difficult to predict how this latest spat between Musk and Bezos will play out. Although Musk is deeply influential right now, it would be wrong to count Bezos out. As Amazon has grown into a world-spanning company, Bezos has demonstrated the ability to influence public policy. Only time will tell which of these two titans will achieve mastery in the realm of space travel. However this rivalry develops, it is certain that every development will receive a tremendous amount of press coverage. After all, these are two of the most famous business tycoons in the country.