A lead engineer at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has left to join Elon Musk’s SpaceX. He was working on Blue Origin’s moon lander.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
  • A top engineer at Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is leaving to join Elon Musk's SpaceX.
  • Nitin Arora was working on Blue Origin's moon lander.
  • It comes after NASA picked SpaceX, and not Blue Origin, for a major moon-landing contract.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A lead engineer on Blue Origin's moon lander project is leaving to join SpaceX.

It follows Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos' space company, losing out to Elon Musk's SpaceX on a $2.9 billion NASA contract to take humans to the moon.

Nitin Arora on Monday announced in a LinkedIn post that he was leaving Blue Origin after nearly three years at the company.

Arora was working on Blue Origin's lunar lander, designed to carry different payloads to the moon's surface.

"Friday (August 13th) was my last day at Blue Origin," Arora wrote in the post. "It was one hell of a ride working on the lunar program. Really honored that I got a chance to work with and lead incredibly smart, passionate people over last three years ... Next stop, SpaceX!"

Blue Origin put forward its lunar lander for a NASA contract to take humans back to the moon by 2024. The agency initially said it would choose two winners out of SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics - but instead it only selected SpaceX.

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On Monday, Blue Origin sued NASA over its decision. A Blue Origin spokesperson said in a statement to Insider that the company wanted to "remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA's Human Landing System."

Before taking NASA to court, Blue Origin filed a protest in April, offered to cover up to $2 billion for the first two years of production of a moon lander, and infographics on its website describing SpaceX's Starship as "immensely complex and high risk." The graphics appeared to cherry-pick details, Insider's Morgan McFall-Johnsen reported.

Elon Musk's company is set to use Starship to fly astronauts to the moon under NASA's contract.

It was unclear from Arora's post whether he'll be working on Starship. Insider asked Arora for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

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