Blue Origin wins $3.4B NASA contract to build moon lander
NASA’s award reignites the moon race between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, whose SpaceX previously won and has begun development on a lunar variation of its Starship rocket.
NASA’s chief made the announcement last week, Reuters reports.
May 19 (UPI) -- NASA announced on Friday it has chosen Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to develop the human landing system for its Artemis V mission to the moon.
Blue Origin will design, develop, test and verify its Blue Moon lander to meet NASA's landing system's requirements for recurring space travel and docking with the orbiting Gateway space station, the transfer point from lunar orbit.
NASA said the price of the contract with Blue Origin is $3.4 billion.
"Today we are excited to announce Blue Origin will build a human landing system as NASA's second provider to deliver Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
Artist rendering of the Blue Origin moon lander that will be developed for NASA's Artemis mission. (Photo courtesy of NASA)
"We are in a golden age of human spaceflight, which is made possible by NASA's commercial and international partnerships. Together, we are making an investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first astronauts on Mars."
Blue Origin said it will work with its national team partners to develop the lander, which includes Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee Robotics.
"Future missions beyond the moon, and enabling capabilities such as high-performance nuclear thermal propulsion, will benefit greatly from storable LH2," Blue Origin said in a statement. "Blue Origin's architecture also prepares for that future day when lunar ice can be used to manufacture LOX and LH2 propellants on the moon.
"Blue Origin and its partners are already at work and are excited to be on this journey with NASA."
Nelson was joined by Jim Free, associate administrator, of NASA's Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, and Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager of the agency's Human Landing System Program in Huntsville, Ala., in making the announcement.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announces Blue Origin as the company selected to develop a sustainable human landing system for the Artemis V Moon mission, Friday, May 19, 2023 at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington. (Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via AP)
"The human landing system will take astronauts to and from Gateway in lunar orbit to the surface and back to the lunar space station as part of NASA's return to the Moon for science, exploration and inspiration," NASA said in a statement.
NASA’s award reignites the moon race between Bezos and Elon Musk, whose SpaceX previously won and has begun development on a lunar variation of its Starship rocket.Report a Typo
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