Blue Origin's Lunar Lander Aims to Put Humans Back on the Moon


Blue Origin's more familiar spacecraft, the New Shepherd, is created to take humans on suborbital flights.

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon billionaire and world's richest person, is set to unveil plans for his rocket company to establish a moon base later on Thursday.

Another industry source said Blue Origin has been working to refine and accelerate its strategy following Pence's comments. BE-7 could be tested for the first time as soon as this summer, Bezos said.

If there is enough water ice on the surface, it could be mined and used for rocket fuel - making it easier to explore and stay on the moon, according to experts. "We are going to build a road to space", Bezos told the audience.

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As CNBC reports, speaking at an invite-only event, Bezos said, "We were given a gift - this nearby body called the moon". It is being created to send between 3.6 and 6.5 metric tons to the lunar surface and can transport payloads ranging from multiple rovers to a human-rated ascent stage.

The announcement for the usually secretive space company came with all the glitz of an Apple product launch in a darkened convention ballroom bedazzled with shimmering stars on its walls.

Bezos spoke of the importance of future human colonization of space and mentioned two important issues: reducing launch costs and using resources already in space.

Is Blue Origin a part of NASA's plan?

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While a $30 million prize for private companies to send robotic probes to the moon went unclaimed past year, one of the competitors, from an Israeli private nonprofit, crashed last month as it tried to land.

The New Shepard rocket first reached space a year ago, achieving a height of 66 miles in April 2018.

A low-priced approach to landing on the moon is risky; SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit, attempted to land on the moon in April, but crashed.

But Bezos, who rarely speaks about the projects at Blue Origin, which he founded in 2000 and finances with more than $1 billion per year, clearly suggested he wants to help Nasa. It involves private companies, new countries and a NASA return mission to place astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2024.

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Last year, SpaceX announced that a Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, had signed up for a trip that would go past the moon without landing on it, and swing back to Earth. The engine will be available for sale to other companies for use in in-space and lander applications.