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Musk soars while Bezos sues in the new space race

14 7 1

Space races are supposed to be won in engineering labs or up in orbit. Thanks to Jeff Bezos, the next one might be won in a courtroom or regulator’s office.

As Bezos’s companies fall behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the race to return humans to the moon and launch satellite-based broadband services, they’re increasingly resorting to politics and legal filings to get ahead.

It’s not exactly a novel approach in Washington. But if Bezos prevails, it could do significant damage to America’s commercial space industry, just as it’s starting to get off the ground.

It may be hard to believe these days, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was once known for its speed and efficiency. In July 1962, NASA invited 11 companies to bid on the Lunar Exploration Module — or LEM — that would ferry astronauts to the moon’s surface for the first time.

Shortly thereafter, it chose Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. (later Northrop Grumman Corp.) for the contract. Just seven years later, the module was on the lunar surface. Since then, unfortunately, NASA’s pace has slowed while costs have soared.

In 2007, to........

© The Japan Times

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