Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin selected to build NASA’s Artemis V lunar lander

NASA selects Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin to build a human landing system for the Artemis V mission to the Moon.

NASA on Thursday announced that it selected Jeff Bezos-owned space technology company Blue Origin to build the human landing system for the Artemis V mission to the Moon.

About Blue Origin:

Blue Origin was awarded a $3.4 billion contract to design, develop, test, and verify its Blue Moon lander. The lander will have to meet the space agency’s requirements for recurring astronaut expeditions to the lunar surface, including docking with the Gateway, a space station that NASA plans to launch into lunar orbit.

Apart from the design and development of the lander, the contract awarded by NASA also includes one uncrewed demonstration mission to the lunar surface before astronauts use the lander during the Artemis V mission, which the agency targets to launch in 2029.

Words from Bill Nelson:

“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,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson in a press statement.

Words from NASA:

NASA says; “adding another human landing system partner for the Artemis program will increase competition and reduce costs to taxpayers while supporting regular lunar landings. It will also help NASA achieve its objectives to prepare for future astronaut missions to the Moon.”

About Artemis V mission:

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will launch four astronauts to lunar orbit as part of the Artemis V mission. The astronauts will be launched aboard the Orion spacecraft, which was tested along with the Space Launch System during the Artemis 1 mission.

Orion should then dock with the Gateway space station, which should be in lunar orbit before the Artemis V mission is launched. After Orion docks with Gateway, two of the astronauts will transfer to Blue Origin’s human landing system, on which they will go on a weeklong trip to the lunar south pole.

About Blue Origin lander:

Blue Origin says that its lander and cislunar will be fueled by a combination of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen (just like SLS) and that they will be capable of making a precision landing anywhere on the Moon.

The combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen (LOX-LH2) is an ideal propellant for space missions because of the high energy density of the liquid hydrogen. But until now, lower-density fuels like hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide have been used for landing missions such as the Apollo landers. This is because LOX-LH2 is quite difficult to handle, as was made evident by the three attempts it took to launch the Artemis 1 mission.

About SpaceX:

NASA had previously given a contract to SpaceX to demonstrate its human landing system for the Artemis III mission. Under that contract, SpaceX also has to evolve its design to demonstrate the lander on the Artemis IV mission.

During Artemis III, four crew members will launch to lunar orbit on an SLS rocket. After that, two crew members will transfer to a SpaceX human landing system for a journey to the surface of the Moon. There, they will explore the surface for a week before boarding the lander for a trip back to Orbit, where they will join the other members for the trip back to Earth.


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