Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, his rocket company, were finally able to win the NASA contract to send astronauts to the moon in the Artemis 5 mission in their second attempt.
NASA announced Friday that it has awarded a contract to Blue Origin to provide a lunar lander for one of its lunar missions scheduled to launch in 2029. The US space agency has agreed to pay $3.4 billion for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company’s 15-meter lunar lander. This spacecraft named “Blue Moon” can carry four astronauts to the lunar surface.
Artemis 5 mission, another important step NASA’s Artemis program is intended to send astronauts to the Moon as part of its Antarctic exploration effort. Astronauts are going to land on the moon with the spacecraft that SpaceX is building for the Artemis 3 and Artemis 4 missions.
Bill Nelson“We want more competition,” said the NASA administrator during the announcement of the awarding of the lunar landing contract to Blue Origin at the NASA headquarters in Washington. “This more competition means we have more reliability and backup options.”
Lisa Watson MorganThe director of the human landing system program at NASA also said that the second lunar lander will also help us in creating a more diverse industrial base, and this will help us to advance innovation in the future.
Winning the lunar contract could be the beginning of a promising year for Blue Origin after several delays and bad luck; including the failure to launch one of the New Shepard sub-orbital missiles last September, which was carrying some cargo. Blue Origin has identified the problem with its rocket and hopes to resume New Shepherd flights carrying space tourists and scientific cargo by the end of this year.
In addition, some hardware made by Blue Origin may be used in an orbital mission in the coming months. This company built the BE-4 engines for the booster stage of the Vulcan rocket; A launcher belonging to the Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Working with other aerospace companies including Boeing and Lockheed Martin, Blue Origin beat out a second team led by Daintyx, a defense company based in Huntsville, Alabama, to win the NASA lunar lander contract.