In a win for Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin has secured a contract to construct a second lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis mission after his firm misplaced out on constructing the primary lander to SpaceX.
On Friday, NASA awarded Blue Origin the $3.4 billion contract to construct a second lander for the Moon slated for use in 2029 in the course of the Artemis V mission.
The so-called “Blue Moon lander” is being designed to hold two astronauts for “a weeklong journey to the Moon’s South Pole area the place they’ll conduct science and exploration actions,” the house company mentioned.
NASA picked Blue Origin, rather than SpaceX, citing the competitive benefits of relying on multiple technology providers. “I’ve said it before, we want more competition,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a press conference. “We wish two landers. And that’s higher. And it means you might have reliability, you might have backups. It advantages NASA, it advantages the American individuals.”
Counting on two lunar suppliers guarantees to additionally hold down prices, since each SpaceX and Blue Origin will face stress to maintain competing on the expertise and securing additional bids. Blue Origin can even be constructing the second lunar lander with the assistance of Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic, and Honeybee Robotics.
“This aggressive method drives innovation, brings down prices, and invests in business capabilities to develop the enterprise alternatives that may serve different prospects and foster a lunar financial system,” added NASA Supervisor Lisa Watson-Morgan.
The house company’s resolution to award the contract to Blue Origin also needs to heal a rift between the 2 events. Again in 2021, NASA awarded the preliminary lunar lander undertaking for the Artemis III mission to SpaceX, which sparked Blue Origin to sue, citing flaws within the analysis course of.
A choose later tossed out the lawsuit. However the authorized battle precipitated NASA to delay its plan to land a human again on the Moon from 2024 to “to no sooner than 2025.”
Blue Origin’s lunar lander received’t be used for a while. However when it does grow to be operational, the plan is for astronauts to board the second lander by first arriving on Gateway, an area station-like outpost that NASA plans to orbit across the Moon.
NASA already efficiently launched Artemis I, an uncrewed mission to the Moon, final 12 months. In the meantime, Artemis II is slated to ship a staff of human astronauts to conduct a flyby of the Moon in November 2024.