• Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020
  • Last Update : 09:15 pm

Amazon's Bezos unveils lunar lander project 'Blue Moon'

  • Published at 05:08 pm May 10th, 2019
Jeff Bezos-Amazon-Blue Origin
Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon Jeff Bezos unveils his space company Blue Origin's space exploration lunar lander rocket called Blue Moon during an unveiling event in Washington DC, US, May 9, 2019 Reuters

Bezos didn't announce a specific date for the project's first launch

Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world and head of space company Blue Origin, announced Thursday his intent to participate in the new race to the Moon with a high-tech lander to carry vehicles and equipment.

"This is Blue Moon," the 55-year-old said at a carefully choreographed presentation in Washington, as curtains lifted to show a model of a huge vessel.

It will weigh more than three metric tons empty, 15 fully fueled, and be capable of carrying 3.6 tons to the lunar surface - or 6.5 in a variant model.

It is supported by four legs, with an upper deck where equipment can be fixed. A large tank of liquefied nitrogen fuel occupies its centre.

"It's an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the Moon," the Amazon founder declared.

Bezos didn't announce a specific date for the project's first launch, but Blue Origin later said it was capable of meeting President Donald Trump's announced goal of returning people to the Moon by 2024.

"We can help meet that timeline, but only because we started three years ago," he said. "It's time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay."

Fifty years after American astronauts first walked on the Moon, the United States is among countries showing renewed interest in Earth's natural satellite.

The vehicle will be capable of carrying scientific instruments, four self-driving rovers and a future pressurized vehicle for humans.

The goal is to land on the Moon's south pole, where ice deposits were confirmed in 2018. Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system.

Space colonies

The White House's intention to return to the Moon in 2024 has sent NASA into a frenzy of activity, because that particular mission was originally anticipated for 2028.

Nothing is ready: not the powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket being developed by Boeing which is necessary to transport vehicles and astronauts.

Not the components of the future mini-station in lunar orbit, which will act as a rest stop between Earth and the Moon. And not the lander nor rovers needed by astronauts, among whom will be the first woman to set foot on the Moon.

But Bezos, who rarely speaks about the projects at Blue Origin, which he founded in 2000 and finances with more than $1 billion per year, clearly suggested he wants to help NASA.

Several other aerospace companies are also expected to bid to build the lander for the space agency, which is in the process of finalizing requests for proposals. Lockheed Martin proposed its own lander concept some months ago.

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, did not talk to journalists at the event.

The lander's unveiling came as Bezos outlined in a lengthy monologue his broader vision to build an infrastructure that would sustain the colonization of space by future generations of humans and shift polluting industries off the Earth.

This would involve the construction of artificial worlds in space, inspired by designs first proposed by the late physicist Gerard K. O'Neill, one of Bezos's heroes, intended to give humanity an escape route in case of limited resources on Earth.

"My generation's job is to build the infrastructure," said Bezos. "We're going to build the road to space."

Blue Origin is working on two other major projects: New Shepard, a suborbital rocket to fly tourists into space; and New Glenn, a heavy lift, partly reusable launch rocket.

Bezos confirmed his commitment to fly the first people in New Shepard this year, and New Glenn in 2021.

The New Shepard rocket first reached space last year, achieving a height of 106km in April 2018.

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail