On May 9th, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveiled Blue Origin’s lunar lander, Blue Moon, for all the world to see. It’s a lot of lander. Blue Moon is big, bold, automated and designed to take the human race to new levels on our one and only natural satellite.  

Blue Moon is designed to carry science payloads, rovers, and eventually astronauts to the moon. Bezos also touted its ability to deploy man made satellites into lunar orbit as a “bonus mission” while on the moon. Blue Moon is automated. So, it will not require human hands to deliver things like rovers and scientific equipment to the lunar surface. But human hands are definitely in the plan. Blue Origin is in the hunt to put astronauts on the moon by the NASA 2024 target.  

Blue Moon has a payload bay that is 23 feet long and 14 feet tall with all four legs fully deployed. When it’s full of fuel it will weigh about 16.5 tons. By the time it arrives at the moon, having burned off all of that fuel, it will go down to about 3.3 tons. For comparison, the Apollo lander stood 23 feet tall and weighed 4.7 tons without propellant. 

Blue Moon “stretched tank” lander: photo credit: Blue Origin

The original Blue Moon lander is meant for one-way trips to the lunar surface. But, they have a proposed “stretched tank” version of the lander that would carry more fuel and enable round-trips for human passengers.

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Blue Origin has plenty of funding, and doesn’t need NASA to launch its lander. But, they’ll be vying for NASA’s attention all the same. NASA will be soliciting proposals from private company landers by the end of this month.  – space.com

 

 

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Jenny Flack

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