NASA Picks Bezos’ Blue Origin to Construct Lunar Landers for Moonwalkers

NASA Picks Bezos’ Blue Origin to Construct Lunar Landers for Moonwalkers

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Bezos’ rocket firm has received a NASA contract to land astronauts on the moon, two years after it lost out to SpaceX.

Blue Origin obtained a $3.4 billion contract Friday to guide a crew to develop a lunar lander named Blue Moon. It might be used to move astronauts to the lunar floor as early as 2029, following a pair of crew landings by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

NASA will get astronauts to lunar orbit utilizing its personal rockets and capsules, however needs personal corporations to take over from there.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson mentioned the company needs completely different touchdown choices because it seeks a return to the moon greater than a half-century after the top of the Apollo moonshots.

Blue Origin is kicking in billions of {dollars}, on prime of the NASA contract, to assist set up a everlasting presence on the moon.

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“We have rather a lot to do earlier than we efficiently land and return astronauts,” mentioned John Couluris, a Blue Origin vice chairman.

Two years in the past, Blue Origin sued after NASA awarded SpaceX the contract for the primary lunar touchdown. A federal decide upheld the area company’s choice.

NASA’s Artemis program, which follows the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies Apollo moonshots. kicked off with a profitable take a look at flight late final yr. Launched atop NASA’s new moon rocket, an empty Orion capsule went into lunar orbit earlier than returning house.

The next Artemis flight will come late subsequent yr when one Canadian and three U.S. astronauts fly to the moon and again, however not land. Two Americans would descend to the lunar floor aboard a SpaceX Starship on the mission after that, no earlier than late 2025.

Like SpaceX, Blue Origin plans to apply touchdown on the moon with no crew, earlier than placing astronauts on board.

While the shiny, chrome steel Starship has a science fiction look, Blue Moon resembles extra of a conventional capsule perched atop a tall compartment with legs. The latter will stand 52 ft (16 meters) on the moon.

Both corporations’ landers are supposed to be reusable.

Blue Origin will use its still-in-development New Glenn rocket to launch its lunar missions from Cape Canaveral. Starship, the world’s largest rocket, made its debut last month from South Texas; the take a look at flight resulted in an explosive fireball a couple of minutes into flight.

Blue Origin’s crew consists of 5 companions: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Draper, Astrobotic Technology and Honeybee Robotics.

Only one different bid was submitted for the contract competitors, based on NASA.

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