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Senate’s $ 10 billion NASA fund is not a “bailout” for Blue Origin

The Senate wants to provide NASA with additional funding to maintain the goals of programs that rely on private companies. Blue Origin is just one example of those companies.

The U.S. Senate generally spends most of May Endless frontier method, A bill aimed at boosting federal science funding.The· Senate passed It’s June 8th, which means we’re going to the House of Representatives next.

Part of the $ 10 billion bill to fund NASA for manned space exploration was criticized for being recognized as a beneficiary of the funding. BlueOrigin is a space exploration company owned by millionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Senator Bernie Sanders Told the media In late May, “It doesn’t make much sense to me to provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest man in America.” Viral social media posts Calling this section Blue Origin’s “relief,” he repeated his complaints.

Question

Is the US Senate trying to give $ 10 billion in bailouts to Blue Origin, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos?

Source of information

answer

No. NASA recently chose SpaceX over Blue Origin and one other company to receive funding for the development of a human lunar module, but NASA decided to fund two companies. As I said, I didn’t even have the budget to fund one company without negotiating a price cut. ..

The Senate bill responded by allocating enough money to give NASA a second contract. Blue Origin is likely to be the leading candidate for the deal, but it is not guaranteed. Even if Blue Origin wins the deal, not all will be paid to Blue Origin because the $ 10 billion allocated to NASA is not the only deal.

What we found

The funding bill passed the Senate along with the rest 2021 US Innovation and Competition Law.. The section called “Bailout” of Blue Origin is between pages 499 and 501. Of the bill..

This will grant NASA more than $ 10 billion to the agency’s Artemis program over the next five years, and NASA will “fund the design, development, testing, and evaluation of two or more entities for human landing. We demand that we maintain “competitiveness within the system program.” NASA also states that “the decision or ruling of a choice made under the Human Landing Systems Program announced prior to the enactment date of this division cannot be modified, terminated or revoked.”

NASA Artemis program Is a partnership with a private company aimed at landing Americans on the moon for the first time since the Apollo program (1961-1972).

Mid april NASA announces SpaceX has been awarded a contract with Blue Origin for dynetics to continue the development of the first commercial human landing vessel used in the Artemis program. The contract ruling was $ 2.89 billion.

But, Document to explain Regarding how and why NASA made that decision, NASA has shown that it wants to be limited to awarding only one contract.

“This decision was based on NASA’s long-standing Option A acquisition strategy of signing two Option A contracts,” wrote Kathy Lueders, NASA’s source selection agency. “At this stage, the agency’s desire to maintain a competitive environment remains unchanged, [Human Landing System] The program did not support even a single Option A award at NASA’s current fiscal year budget at the stage of initial price and milestone payments proposed by each Option A proposer. “

According to Lueders, NASA will use SpaceX, the lowest bid, to negotiate prices close to NASA’s budget.according to Filing from Blue Origin, Their contract was estimated at $ 5.99 billion — more than double SpaceX’s modified bids.

In other words, NASA didn’t have the budget to offer contracts to two different companies, if they wanted to. So I chose SpaceX, the lowest bidder, as a starting point. However, the agency has not completely given up on enabling a second contract.

NASA first requested Increased funds For the Artemis program before the bill was submitted in the Senate.Agencies further aspire to “keep competition to lower costs and reduce risk” for future partnerships Detailed request later.That’s the strategy NASA has Previously used In a commercial partnership.

The Senate bill will allocate $ 10 billion to NASA over the next five years for the “Human Landing Systems Program.” This means that the money will also be used for NASA’s future human landing system contracts. Previously shown May be necessary.

So if Blue Origin wins the deal, it’s not guaranteed, but it won’t win all $ 10 billion.

The details of the bill are not always final. It then goes to the House of Representatives, where the House of Representatives may make changes before passing it in a vote. As it passes the House of Representatives, it goes to President Biden’s desk for his signature to become law.

Other VERIFY articles: Debt Clock is an estimate of total federal debt, not an official calculation

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Senate’s $ 10 billion NASA fund is not a “bailout” for Blue Origin

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