Almost a year ago, a mock-up of the Blue Moon lunar lander was unveiled. In an event held at the Washington Convention Center, Jeff Bezos, the founder of online retail chain Amazon, presented the latest plans of his space exploration company, Blue Origin, to an audience consisting of NASA officials and potential investors. Blue Origin is one of three companies selected by NASA to build lunar landers. It has received the highest paid contract between itself, Tesla, Inc. founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX (USD 135 million), and Dynetics (USD 253 million). Blue Origin’s contract is worth USD 579 million (Rs 4,381 core)
The Blue Moon is primarily a three-stage spacecraft for delivering payloads and carrying unmanned rovers to the lunar surface. It will also be able to carry satellites that orbit the Moon. According to Bezos, the drafting of plans for the lunar lander was already underway by 2016.
On the other hand, the Blue Moon, which is a reusable vehicle, was showcased as an attempt to appease the United States and it’s president’s hopes to return to sending man to the Moon independently by 2024. Since the last few years, NASA has not been able to manage that and has instead had to collaborate with the Russian Soyuz program. Whether or not the Blue Moon will achieve that, only time will tell.
Powered by a new rocket engine called the BE-7, it will be able to provide 4,535kg of thrust. With a full tank, which carries a massive load of fuel, the spacecraft weighs about 14,969kg and will weigh approximately 3,175kg while landing on the moon.
Initial plans for the Blue Moon include landing on the south pole of the Moon, to break down ice deposits found there into hydrogen. This hydrogen will then act as fuel for the spacecraft for further space missions. The Blue Moon will also abandon it’s landing gear on the Moon to reduce weight on the way back to Earth.
The Blue Moon will rival Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship which can also be used for Mars missions, and Alabama-based Dynetics’ lander which can be launched off of any rocket. This provides for an exciting space race within the country, pushing the limits of space-related technology.
World news – CA – The Blue Moon: A Look At Jeff Bezos’ Lunar Lander Spacecraft