Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin wins NASA contract to construct astronaut lunar lander

NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson, U.S. Senator and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Canadian Area Company president Lisa Campbell maintain a information convention with Artemis II moon mission crew members Christina Koch, Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover and Jeremy Hansen exterior the U.S. Capitol constructing in Washington.
| Photograph Credit score: REUTERS

A group led by Jeff Bezos’ house firm Blue Origin received a coveted NASA contract to construct a spacecraft to ship astronauts to and from the moon’s floor, NASA’s chief introduced on Friday, capping a high-stakes contest.

NASA’s determination will give the company a second trip to the Moon below its Artemis program after it awarded Elon Musk’s SpaceX $3 billion in 2021 to land astronauts on the moon for the primary time for the reason that closing Apollo mission in 1972.

These preliminary missions utilizing SpaceX’s Starship system are slated for later this decade.

Friday’s announcement in Washington evokes deja vu for founder Bezos and defence contractor Dynetics Inc, the pinnacle of a partnership with Northrop Grumman.

These firms misplaced out to SpaceX for the 2021 contract, a part of an preliminary moon lander procurement program. NASA below that program mentioned it may choose as much as two firms, however blamed funds constraints for under going with SpaceX.

This new contract provides a second likelihood for Bezos, who since founding Blue Origin in 2000 has invested billions into the corporate to compete for high-profile industrial and authorities house contracts with SpaceX, a dominant pressure in satellite tv for pc launches and human spaceflight.

Additionally Learn | Artemis: Why it might be the final mission for NASA astronauts

After dropping in 2021, Blue Origin unsuccessfully fought to overturn NASA’s determination to disregard its Blue Moon lander, first with a watchdog company after which in court docket.

Blue Origin and lawmakers had pressured NASA to award a second lunar lander contract to advertise industrial competitors and make sure the company has a backup trip to the moon. NASA in early 2022 introduced this system for a second lander contract.

NASA chief Invoice Nelson mentioned on the time: “I promised competition, so here it is.”

Additionally Learn | Science This Week | NASA names astronauts for Artemis II mission, new isotope of uranium discovered and extra 

Blue Origin has mentioned little about its newest moon lander proposal past naming its company companions: Lockheed Martin , Boeing, spacecraft software program agency Draper, and robotics agency Astrobotic.

Northrop Grumman, beforehand a key associate in Blue Origin’s unsuccessful Blue Moon bid in 2021, switched groups to affix its former rival Dynetics.

NASA’s multi-spacecraft plan for the Artemis moonshots includes its Area Launch System rocket launching astronauts towards the moon aboard the Lockheed-built Orion capsule. That can dock in house with a lunar lander that may ferry the crew the remainder of the way in which to the moon’s floor.

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