Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin may still be up to receive federal dollars for a mission to the moon despite losing out on a lucrative NASA award to SpaceX earlier this year, as Congress weighs an amendment to pending legislation.
The amendment was introduced earlier this month to the Endless Frontier Act, which aims to establish U.S. leadership in scientific and technological innovation through investments in key industries.
Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced an amendment that would authorize up to $10 billion for two teams to continue working on the lunar lander – as opposed to one.
The amendment stipulates that competitiveness should be maintained within the human landing system program by "funding design, development, testing, and evaluation for not fewer than 2 entities."
As previously reported by FOX Business, Blue Origin recently lost a $2.9 billion NASA contract to build the lunar landing craft that will return astronauts to the moon for the first time in decades. That award was instead given to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which offered up its reusable Starship spacecraft for the mission. The other company that was being considered for the job was Dynetics.
Amazon has its headquarters in Washington, which is the state that Cantwell represents.
She is also chair of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
A spokesperson for Blue Origin did not return FOX Business’ request for comment.
The senators have at least one opponent in Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has dubbed the amendment the "multi-billion dollar Bezos bailout."’ Sanders has introduced an amendment that would eliminate their amendment from the bill.
The Frontier Act has not yet been passed by Congress.
NASA executives have said their goal is to land Americans on the moon "as quickly and safely as possible."
Bezos’ company protested the award, as first reported by The New York Times, to which Musk teased that Bezos couldn’t "get it up (to orbit)."
That mission is expected to advance NASA toward its goal of landing astronauts on Mars.
Meanwhile Blue Origin is expected to fly its first crew of astronauts and the winner of a bidding contest. into space in late July