Looks like Jeff Bezos’ rocket company is finally over the moon about landing astronauts on the moon!
Blue Origin, the space enterprise owned by him, will undertake the task of creating a lunar lander for NASA. The upcoming Artemis mission, slated for 2029, will involve the use of a lander named Blue Moon. This vehicle will be responsible for transporting astronauts from an orbiting spacecraft to the moon’s surface.
In 2021, Blue Origin was not awarded a contract by NASA for the creation of a lunar lander. Instead, the U.S. space agency selected SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, for the project. NASA had originally planned to select two winners for the contract, but due to financial limitations, it was compelled to choose only one. Consequently, various companies, including Blue Origin, lodged protests that ultimately influenced the resolution to broaden the contracts.
Blue Origin is collaborating with Boeing and Lockheed Martin to develop a lunar lander called Blue Moon. The contract worth $3.4 billion was awarded to the company, surpassing a rival team led by Dynetics and featuring Northrop Grumman. This amount is higher than the $2.9 million contract awarded to SpaceX a few years ago.
Bezos’ aspirations of reaching the moon are still far from being realized. According to Couluris, Blue Origin intends to employ New Glenn, a sizeable rocket that has not yet undergone testing, for the lunar expedition. Prior to any human presence on Blue Moon, the company will conduct numerous test landings.
Upon activation, Blue Moon is intended to be launched into space and subsequently dock with Gateway, which is a logistics hub that is presently under development and will provide assistance with lunar landings. Subsequently, the astronauts would embark on the lander and proceed to disembark onto the lunar surface.
Since the conclusion of the final Apollo mission in 1972, no further expeditions have been conducted to the lunar surface. The Artemis program was initiated by NASA in 2017 with the objective of facilitating the return of humans to the moon. The government has recently requested for supplementary funding to support NASA’s lander missions. According to Couluris, Blue Origin anticipates allocating additional funds towards its lander development, in addition to the monetary compensation received from the space agency.
Fortunately, Bezos currently holds the position of the third wealthiest individual globally. However, it remains unclear whether this status applies to his potential wealth on the moon.