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Jeff Bezos is Willing to Cover $2 Billion in Fees For NASA Program

The newly-minted space explorer is willing to cover $2 billion in fees for NASA's Human Landing System program. 

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Newly-minted space explorer Jeff Bezos is willing to cover $2 billion in fees for NASA’s Human Landing System program. 

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

In an open letter to HLS administrator Bill Nelson last week, the Amazon founder said of his aerospace company, “Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2B to get the program back on track right now.”

He called out NASA’s decision to give Elon Musk’s SpaceX a $2.89 billion contract to work on developing the first commercial human lander to bring the next two American astronauts to the moon, saying that “instead of investing in two competing lunar landers as originally intended, the Agency chose to confer a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar head start to SpaceX. That decision broke the mold of NASA’s successful commercial space programs by putting an end to meaningful competition for years to come.”

Related: Jeff Bezos Isn't Actually an Astronaut, According to the FAA

He encouraged the agency to consider the benefits of having both billionaires’ companies compete, pointing out that competition would prevent either one from “having insurmountable leverage over NASA.” 

The goal of returning Americans to the moon’s surface, says the letter, is for them to “stay” this time. 

After he shot into space on a Blue Origin rocket last month, Bezos insisted he is not in competition with Richard Branson, who also launched himself a few days prior. 

During a sit-down with Gayle King that aired on CBS This Morning after his flight, Bezos flatly denied that he and the Virgin Group founder were competing against one another.

“It’s not a competition,” he said at the time, noting his belief that there will be many other companies that enter the space race. His Blue Origin and Branson’s Virgin Galactic both have plans to start launching ticket-holders into space in the future and Bezos doesn’t think they’ll be alone in catering to wealthy passengers’ interest in a space flight.

His and Musk’s interest in the moon as a destination prove that there will be a number of companies looking into space travel. 

Related: Jeff Bezos Makes History in Successful Space Flight