Blue Origin Wins Contract For Second Lunar Lander


Blue Origin will supply the lunar lander for the third crewed Artemis mission to land astronauts on the moon. NASA announced Friday that the company, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has been awarded a $3.5 billion contract to develop the lunar lander it dubbed Blue Moon. The project is expected to cost more the $7 billion total and Blue Origin will be spending billions more than its half share of the lander total to build a permanent base on the moon. “We want to establish permanence on the moon,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “And we want to ensure we have consistent access to the moon.”

Blue Origin was a losing bidder to SpaceX for a contract for the first two crewed landings on the moon and it unsuccessfully sued NASA because the original concept of the Artemis program was to include landers from two different companies. A judge upheld the NASA decision, which was taken for cost considerations, but NASA has since received more budget for the moon project and changed its mind. The Blue Origin craft is much different from the modified silo-like Starship lander that SpaceX will use. Blue Moon is about half the height of the huge SpaceX vehicle with elements of the original Apollo program lander influencing its design. The first Blue Moon Mission is slated for 2028.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • To provide a stepping stone to bring us to an equally desolate, dangerous place with minimal atmosphere. Still, it’s exciting and provides something for us all to rally behind. Besides, if we don’t figure a way off this rock within the next two billion years, humanity is pretty much doomed anyways (provided we don’t blow ourselves to hades before then).

  1. Funny that Blue has adopted the SpaceX method of multiple launches and in-orbit refuelling – the approach they previously mocked as complex and high risk. But it turns out, also essential if you want more than flags and footprints.

  2. But the pictures and videos will be awesome…..oh, you can also do that with CGI.

  3. Quite possibly the moon expeditions are motivated by fear. Fear that another country will get there first and then hurt us some way. Possible ways other countries could hurt us are financial (through denying us access to resources, such as minerals etc. or just denying us presence for future use) and military (other countries could use the moon to attack us somehow), or simply politically, as in “we’re better than you”, which would influence how other countries perceive the US on this planet.

  4. By establishing a base on the moon, we figure out how to live there without resupply from earth. This allows us to use the same concepts for mars. The other reason is that we can also use that knowledge to hopefully transfer most of the high polluting industry to the moon and /or orbit, thus making the earth a better place to live. Not for us, but possibly for our grandchildren.

  5. There’s billions of acres of desert you can move to if you want a barren landscape to live on. It’s cheap land, too and 250,000 miles closer to the moon (save gas, rah, rah).