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COUNTDOWN. A fight between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos over whose rocket firm will dominate the space race is about egos as big as the universe. But a battle in Washington, D.C. over funding for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shows the contest centers just as much on earthly influence.
NASA wants to go to the moon by 2024, and Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin both thought they would win funding to do so. But in April, the agency made a surprise decision to pick only SpaceX, citing a budget shortfall and technical factors. Blue Origin challenged the choice as unfair and risky.
Now lawmakers are fighting it out. A senator from Blue Origin’s home state is attempting to add $10 billion to NASA’s funding, which would allow a second moon program winner while Senator Bernie Sanders wants the funding eliminated. Other public firms are also seeking to build businesses in space . They may need to land in D.C. first. (By Robert Cyran)
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