After his trip to space onboard the New Shepard Rocket last month, Jeff Bezos stands proud of his company, Blue Origin. But that did not stop Elon Musk from taunting the company and its founder on Twitter. Both men started their space companies near about the same time, but Musk's SpaceX is turning out to be the favorite contractor for space missions.
Bezos's recent trip made him the second person to fly out to space financed by private money. While Musk nurses these dreams of traveling to space himself, he has ensured that his company is focused on developing and deploying the Falcon 9 rocket, where possible. With 122 launches under its belt, the reusable rocket has delivered cargo as well as crews to the International Space Station (ISS).
In comparison, Bezos' Blue Origins hardly has much to boast about, apart from its recent mission. The New Shepard rocket that took Bezos to space is still completing its test flights. It's another reusable rocket, the New Glenn, which is designed to be bigger and better than the Falcon 9 is still in development, although it was scheduled for a test flight in 2020.
The two companies were working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the development of its Human Landing System (HLS) to send a crewed mission to the moon. After initial work with both parties, NASA took a call and granted the $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX recently. Unhappy with the award, Blue Origins criticized NASA for shifting the goalposts at the last moment and taking "high risk" to work with SpaceX alone.
In an open letter written to NASA administrator, Bill Nelson, Bezos reiterated their complaint and offered a heavy discount and a new pathfinder mission for free to get back in NASA's good books and be part of the HLS program. Blue Origins protested formally with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) but that was also shot down by the government agency.
While Musk had tweeted in support of that decision as well, he did not refrain from bringing it up once again, when the opportunity arose. A Twitter account posted some of the failures of Blue Origins along with their decision to protest NASA's HLS decision.
If Blue Origin spent as much time on *actual* rocket science as they do protesting NASA’s HLS decision, New Glenn would have reached orbit, New Armstrong would be operational and Jeff’s O’Neill colony in space idea would be real…— Everything SpaceX (@spacex360) August 11, 2021
Musk was quick to agree with the tweet and added his own
If lobbying & lawyers could get u to orbit, Bezos would be on Pluto rn— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2021
While Bezos is unlikely to take this up on Twitter with Musk, there is little his space company has to show at the moment as well. Will his lawyers respond instead?