Jeff Bezos can still hope to bring American astronauts to the moon alongside Elon Musk in the future.

The American space agency NASA has now announced that it wants to hold a second competition for a lunar module.

Almost a year ago, she placed an order with Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, and Bezos was at a disadvantage with his rival supplier Blue Origin.

But now he's getting a second chance, and Blue Origin immediately announced that they wanted to take part in the new competition.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

  • Follow I follow

The company should also be considered one of the favorites.

The fact that it could now join SpaceX in one of NASA's most prestigious and ambitious projects underscores the rivalry between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos with their second space projects.

In addition to SpaceX, Musk also runs the electric car manufacturer Tesla, and Bezos was CEO of the online retailer, which he founded, until last year.

With its new lunar program, NASA wants to continue its most glorious and long-forgotten times.

Between 1969 and 1972, she brought a total of twelve astronauts to the moon as part of the Apollo missions.

The new NASA project, in which SpaceX and possibly Blue Origin are participating, is called "Artemis", after the moon goddess and twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.

It was already promoted under former US President Donald Trump, and his successor Joe Biden is pursuing it further.

The next manned mission to the moon was originally planned for 2024, but the target is now 2025, although that is also considered uncertain.

As with other projects such as manned missions to the ISS space station, NASA is also relying on the help of private companies for the Artemis program.

It was actually expected that she would choose two different companies for the original order for a lunar module.

Surprisingly, however, it went completely to SpaceX and was endowed with 2.9 billion dollars, the other two finalists, Blue Origin and the less well-known company Dynetics, went away empty-handed.

Apparently, cost reasons were decisive for the decision at that time.

Blue Origin did not want to accept this without objection.

The company first filed a protest with a state agency and then even filed a lawsuit, but failed in both cases.

Jeff Bezos personally wrote a letter to NASA CEO Bill Nelson urging him to select a second company alongside SpaceX for the project, even offering a billion-dollar price cut.

The U-turn that has now been announced does not come as a complete surprise, as Nelson has said in the past that he would like to have more than one partner for the lunar module.

Now he said, "I promised competition, and here it is." However, it is not yet certain whether the US Congress will also provide the necessary funding for the new contract award, although Nelson expressed confidence in the money receive.

At first he did not make it public how expensive the project would be.

NASA is currently aiming for 2026 or 2027 for the first manned flight with the second lander.

And as Nelson said, NASA sees the lunar projects as preparation "for the next great leap for mankind: a manned mission to Mars."

Jeff Bezos now has a chance to fulfill a dream and take part in the follow-up project to the lunar missions that fascinated him since he was a child.

He has described it as a "pioneering moment" in his life when, at the age of five, he watched on TV with his parents and grandparents as Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon.

As early as 2019, well before the first Artemis contract was awarded, he presented a model for a lunar module.

At the time, he said, "It's time to go back to the moon, and this time to stay."