Jeff Bezos beats Elon Musk in a race to Mars – NASA has chosen Blue Origin over the Tesla founder’s SpaceX as the first private company to carry out a mission to the red planet.

Via Instagram / @laurenwsanchez


The longtime feud between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos is quite well known. It all began in 2004 when met over a dinner to discuss reusable rockets and their space companies that were both in their early days. It is believed that the meeting was a complete bust and the two CEOs developed a deep dislike for each other. With both billionaires often throwing shade at each other for many years, the ugly discourse has even involved lawsuits. While the Amazon and Tesla founders have also competed over the title of the world’s richest person, the main reason that has been fueling the dispute between the two is who gets to win the space race. In this fierce war of supremacy, Bezos has scored another victory against the SpaceX founder. NASA has announced that it will send a pair of probes to Mars aboard the first Blue Origin New Glenn rocket in August 2024; although, it’s going to be an uphill task for the Bezos space exploration company to ready the rocket in less than a year for the mission.

Blue Origin’s New Gleen is a reusable rocket

The Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission includes an identical pair of spacecraft (smallsats) that have been designed to study the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere of Mars. Originally, Musk’s SpaceX was set to carry the probes to Mars on a Falcon Heavy rocket in October of this year, in addition to carrying out the Psyche mission for exploring an asteroid. However, NASA decided against it, claiming that the Falcon Heavy would not have the proper trajectory to insert the probes into Mars’ orbit. Interestingly, NASA’s announcement shortly after SpaceX’s gigantic Starship rocket blew up in a second launch attempt.

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Nasa said in a statement: “Each satellite will carry three instruments: a magnetometer for measuring the magnetic field, an electrostatic analyzer to measure ions and electrons, and a Langmuir probe for measuring plasma density and solar extreme ultraviolet flux.”

Elon Musk strikes a pose with the SpaceX Dragon Capsule.

Over the years, NASA has carried out many Mars missions, sending orbiters, landers, and rovers to the Red Planet. All previous Mars missions by NASA involved rockets made by the American space agency itself. This is the first time the American space agency has given a contract to a private space company to go to our neighboring planet, which is a big win for Bezos and Blue Origin. However, NASA is taking a major risk by going with Bezos’ company and using the yet-to-be-proven New Glenn rocket for the mission.

Via Instagram / @blueorigin

New Glenn is a heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle Blue Origin has been working on for several years. It is named after NASA astronaut John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. Bezos’ company originally planned for the first launch in 2020, but it has met with constant delays and the rocket still hasn’t taken a flight. In fact, the two-stage rocket will be carrying NASA’s payload to Mars on its very first flight, which poses a massive risk for both NASA and Blue Origin. Mars missions usually have a very tiny window which typically come every 26 month. What that means is the mission will be delayed by more than two years if the 2024 timeline is not met.

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However, NASA seems to be unperturbed given the magnitude of the mission. ESCAPADE has been designated a ‘class D’ mission, which is categorized as low-priority for NASA’s overall strategy. The entire mission has a shoestring budget of just $79 million and the contract with Blue Origin is believed to be worth $20 million. “We’re willing to take a little bit of risk with a price tag and a mission assurance model that reflects that risk,” said Bradley Smith, director of NASA’s Launch Services Office. While the budget for the mission might be minuscule, it would be a major milestone for Bezos’ space company if it is successful in sending the probes to Mars.

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Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.