Why did NASA choose SpaceX over Blue Origin?
The fact that SpaceX has been extremely operationally active with orbital work since 2008 I think while Blue Origin still has yet to launch an orbital rocket speaks volumes, along with the fact that the Blue Origin proposal was twice as expensive as SpaceX.
Combine with NASA having their HLS budget literally quartered by Congress… Obviously spend it all on the company with a proven track record and don’t dilute for the sake of redundancy.
That redundancy after all got NASA real far with the crewed space flight program. Boeing got way more money, and still hasn’t completed even an uncrewed test flight. SpaceX got way less money, and has done both uncrewed and crewed test flights, two crewed operational flights, and has returned both the test and first operational crewed flights safely back to Earth.
NASA is smart, it turns out. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. They learned their lesson, they’re not being trapped by the redundancy argument again especially when SpaceX is involved.
I love Blue Origin, I love Bezos’s ideas and grand visions, and I really want the company to succeed. But they have to actually start doing something operationally beyond test flights. They can’t just expect free government money without, frankly, proving much of anything so far, at least anything significant. SpaceX didn’t get free money when they started. They had to actually get a rocket to orbit: one of four attempts cumulatively on less than what Jeff donates to his pet project in a single year.
Blue Origin still hasn’t done even that. New Shephard can’t each orbit, and New Glenn becomes operational who knows when at this point. Why does Bezos think he gets an exception?