Bezos Offers to Waive $2 Billion in Fees to Secure Lunar Landing Contract

Jeff Bezos

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offered to waive $2 billion in payments to secure his spaceflight company Blue Origin a NASA contract.

Bezos asked NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in an open letter Monday to award Blue Origin a contract to construct a Human Landing System (HLS), a lunar-landing vehicle, as part of the Artemis program, offering to waive up to $2 billion in fees. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX had been awarded the $2.9 billion contract in April, beating out Blue Origin’s bid, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Artemis program is intended to return human astronauts to the Moon, with a manned mission to Mars planned as well. Though the program was initially planned as a joint contract, it was awarded solely to SpaceX due to budgetary constraints which Bezos’ offer sought to alleviate, according to the letter.

“Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2 billion to get the program back on track right now,” Bezos wrote in the letter.

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Commentary: Wally Funk’s Lifelong Journey to the Stars

Plane flying in the sky

Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk always wanted to fly.  She had her first flying lesson when she was nine years old and grew up making wooden planes, building treehouses, riding horses, biking, hunting, and fishing.  As a young girl growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, Wally recalls, “I did everything that people didn’t expect a girl to do.”   

Wally’s curiosity and love of flying, however, would ultimately shape the rest of her life.  She obtained her flying license at Stephens College when she was in her teens, then joined the “Flying Aggies” aviation team at Oklahoma State University, where she earned a degree in education.  Wally then got her first job at Fort Sill, Oklahoma where she was the only female flight instructor.

At the height of the Space Race, in 1961, when she was just 22 years old, Wally became infatuated with the idea of taking her passion for flying to the next level, as an astronaut in space.  

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NASA Makes History with First Helicopter Flight on Another Planet

NASA Helicopter

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration made history Monday morning when it conducted the first ever powered and controlled flight on a different planet.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ingenuity, a solar-powered helicopter, took flight on Mars for more than 39 seconds, reaching a maximum altitude of 10 feet, the agency announced. Hours after the flight, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California confirmed the success after it received data sent from the helicopter.

“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in a statement Monday.

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NASA Releases Perseverance Rover’s First Photos of Mars

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration released the first photos taken by its Perseverance rover on Mars after it became just the fifth rover to ever successfully complete the landing.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) photos released Saturday showed Mars’s vast landscape and rocky terrain. On Thursday, Perseverance successfully completed its landing on the Red Planet after a nearly seven-month flight from Earth.

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Space Abounds in Security Threats, Technological Promise, NASA Chief Says

In a wide-ranging interview on “Just the News AM,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine touted his agency’s innovations in 3D-organ printing, immunization, and fiber optics made possible through microgravity in space.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Thursday applauded the United States’ recent ending of nine years of reliance on Russia to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station, while also warning of the growing threat of Chinese and Russian anti-satellite technologies.

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Texas A&M Professor and NASA Researcher Zhengdong Cheng Arrested for Alleged China Ties

Texas A&M professor and NASA researcher Zhengdong Cheng was arrested Sunday for alleged conspiracy, false statements, and wire fraud.

According to a United States Department of Justice press release, Cheng allegedly “willfully took steps to obscure his affiliations and collaboration with a Chinese University and at least one Chinese-owned company.”

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SpaceX Capsule and NASA Crew Make First Splashdown in 45 Years

Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to close out an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch as early as next month and possible tourist flights next year.

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NASA’s Next Mars Rover Sports Brawn, Brains, and Even a Helicopter

With eight successful Mars landings, NASA is upping the ante with its newest rover.

The spacecraft Perseverance — set for liftoff this week — is NASA’s biggest and brainiest Martian rover yet.

It sports the latest landing tech, plus the most cameras and microphones ever assembled to capture the sights and sounds of Mars. Its super-sanitized sample return tubes — for rocks that could hold evidence of past Martian life — are the cleanest items ever bound for space. A helicopter is even tagging along for an otherworldly test flight.

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FAKE NEWS: Headline-Grabbing Ocean Warming Study is Full of ‘Factual Errors and Misleading Statements,’ Scientist Says

by Michael Bastach   Another major headline-grabbing climate study suggesting oceans have warmed faster than previously thought is full of “factual errors and misleading statements,” according to independent scientist Nic Lewis. Lewis challenged the climate paper’s central arguments that more recent estimates of ocean heat content (OHC) are higher than…

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NASA Makes Space History with Distant Fly-By

Just 33 minutes into the New Year, NASA’s New Horizons probe made space exploration history, flying by the most distant body ever visited by a spacecraft from earth. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which built and operates the spacecraft, said Tuesday it had “zipped past” the object known…

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‘Climate Alarmism,’ ‘Propaganda’ Fill US Agency Websites, Report Finds

by Tim Pearce   Multiple federal agencies are pushing agenda-driven climate science on their websites, according to The Heartland Institute. The Trump administration has taken a public stance supporting fossil fuels and questioning the scientific “consensus” of climate change research. Parts of federal websites should be overhauled or taken down…

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US ‘Extremely Committed to Getting to Mars,’ NASA Administrator Says

by Alex Christy   NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is looking to the future of Mars exploration after NASA successfully landed its InSight Mars Lander on Monday. “This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our…

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Commentary: ‘First Man’ – Let’s Just Skip This Movie

First Man

by CHQ Staff   Universal Pictures’ chose Oscar-winning French director Damien Chazelle and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling to lead “First Man,” the story of the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s quest to land a man on the moon. The story line focuses on astronaut Neil Armstrong and the years…

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Dr. Bradford Smith, NASA’s ‘Tour Guide for Voyager,’ Missions Dies at 86

Bradford Smith c.1981

Bradford Smith, a NASA astronomer who acted as planetary tour guide to the public with his interpretations of stunning images beamed back from Voyager missions, has died. Smith’s wife, Diane McGregor, said he died Tuesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of complications from myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune…

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President Trump Announces Next-Generation ‘Space Force’ as an Independent Service Branch

Donald Trump Space Force

Vowing to reclaim U.S. leadership in space, President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new “Space Force” as an independent service branch aimed at ensuring American supremacy in space. Trump envisioned a bright future for the U.S. space program, pledging to revive the country’s…

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