NASA chooses Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ company, to take astronauts to the Moon from Artemis 5

The creator of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, also does not want to miss the new race to return to the Moon and has been fighting for years to become one of NASA’s contractors with Blue Origin, his aerospace company. He lost a first battle two years ago with SpaceX: Elon Musk’s company managed to win the contract for the first lander (a decision that Bezos tried to challenge in court); but he has just won another to be responsible for the second ship that will land with astronauts from Artemis 5, NASA’s new lunar program.

so has announced the US space agency, which has chosen Blue Moon, Blue Origin’s moon landing module, to set foot on the Moon from 2029. Before, like SpaceX (who carried out a test flight with Spaceship a month ago, the ship with the one that Elon Musk plans to go to the Moon, and that ended up exploding), he will first have to demonstrate his safety with different flights and a moon landing without a crew.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this journey with NASA,” Bezos wrote on social media after the announcement. The contract is worth $3.4 billion, but John Couluris, Blue Origin’s vice president of lunar transportation, told a news conference that the company would contribute “well beyond” that amount to develop the spacecraft.

How is the Bezos ship

The Blue Moon landing module will be 16 meters high and will weigh 45 tons when filled with fuel (liquid hydrogen and oxygen). Several companies are partners in the project: Boeing, Draper, Astrobotic, Honeybee Robotics and Lockheed Martin. The latter will be in charge of developing a crucial element of the mission: a shuttle capable of refueling around the Moon. Once in lunar orbit, Blue Moon will need to refuel before it can descend and lift astronauts from the surface of our satellite.

Blue Origin plans to use its New Glenn rocket, which has never flown before, to launch both its lunar lander and this shuttle.

The steps to follow

On the first three missions, astronauts will travel aboard the Orion capsule, propelled to the Moon by NASA’s new SLS megarocket. These two elements were tested empty during Artemis 1 and will be tested with crew during Artemis 2. For Artemis 3, the first mission to bring astronauts back on our satellite since the 1970s, Orion will dock directly to SpaceX’s lunar lander. . Two astronauts will then descend on the Moon for about a week (two more will remain aboard Orion).

Once their experiments are complete, the two astronauts will return in the lunar lander to Orion, which will bring the four crew members back to Earth.

Later, Orion will connect to the Gateway space station and astronauts will pass through it before boarding the SpaceX (Artemis 4) or Blue Origin (Artemis 5) moon landing module.

All of these missions are targeting the Moon’s south pole, where water in the form of ice has been detected. There, the astronauts will learn to live to test all the technologies necessary for an even more risky destination: Mars.

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NASA chooses Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ company, to take astronauts to the Moon from Artemis 5