Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, introduced a new Blue Origin lunar lander on Thursday. Called Blue Moon, the cargo version of the lander is designed to deliver payloads of up to 3.6 metric tons to the lunar surface. According to Blue Origin, Blue Moon will be equipped with fuel cells that will allow it to remain powered through the two-week-long lunar night. It will also be capable of autonomous navigation.
“Blue Moon is a flexible lander delivering a wide variety of small, medium and large payloads to the lunar surface,” Blue Origin said. “Its capability to provide precise and soft landings will enable a sustained human presence on the Moon.” Blue Origin has also designed a larger variant that will be able to carry a 6.5-metric-ton, human-rated ascent stage. The company says the lander will be ready to go in time to meet the current administration’s goal of returning U.S. personnel to the Moon by 2024.
Blue Moon will be powered by Blue Origin’s new BE-7 engine, which uses a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants. The company expects to conduct the first hotfire of the engine this summer. Blue Origin says that once complete, the engine will be available for purchase.