Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin Will Develop a Moon Lander for NASA
Jeff Bezos is shooting for the moon.
His space company, Blue Origin, will develop a lunar lander for NASA, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Blue Moon, as the lander will be called, will shuttle astronauts from an orbiting spacecraft to the moon’s surface on an Artemis mission expected to happen in 2029.
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“This is step one,” John Couluris, the vice president for lunar transportation at Blue Origin, told the WSJ. “We have a lot to do before we successfully land and return astronauts.”
Back in 2021, Blue Origin missed out on receiving a contract from NASA, as the U.S. space agency instead turned to Elon Musk’s SpaceX to create a lunar lander. Initially, NASA had said that it would choose two different winners for the contract, but budget constraints forced it to pick just one. As such, companies, including Blue Origin protested, which eventually contributed to the decision to expand the contracts.
Blue Origin will be creating Blue Moon alongside other entities such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The company beat out a competing team led by Dynetics and including Northrop Grumman for the $3.4 billion contract, more than the $2.9 million SpaceX received a couple years ago.
Bezos’s lunar ambitions have a long way to go before becoming reality, though. Couluris told The Wall Street Journal Blue Origin plans to use New Glenn, a large rocket that it hasn’t yet flown, for the moon mission. And before any people actually step foot on Blue Moon, the company will carry out multiple test landings.
Once operational, Blue Moon would launch into space, where it would dock with Gateway, a logistics hub currently in development that will help with the lunar landings. From there, astronauts would board the lander and step onto the moon.
No one has been back to the lunar surface since the last Apollo mission, in 1972. In 2017, NASA established the Artemis program to return humanity to the moon, and the government has more recently sought additional funding for NASA landers. Beyond the money it will receive from the space agency, Blue Origin expects to put even more dollars toward its lander development, Couluris said.
Thankfully, Bezos is the third-richest person on the planet (we’re not too sure about on the moon, though).
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