The US space agency chose the chief executive of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, as the second billionaire to help it put “astronauts back on the moon.” Additionally, it has awarded a contract for the construction of a lunar landing ship that will be used later this decade. A more traditional-looking vehicle will be created by his “Blue Origin company.”
On a descent system based on SpaceX’s innovative Starship rocket, which will touch down as early as 2025, NASA is already collaborating with Elon Musk’s company.
Astrobotic, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Draper, are just a few of the well-known names that Mr. Bezos will work with.
In a battle with Dynetics and Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin was able to win the contract.
Just over $3.4 billion (£2.7 billion) will be paid by NASA as part of the contract to Mr. Bezos’s business, which is based in Kent in the US state of Washington. Furthermore, the company will invest “well north of $3.4 billion” of its own funds in the project.
Astronauts haven’t set foot on the moon in more than 50 years. In contrast to the 1960s and 1970s, the agency’s “Artemis programme” envisions” stays of weeks on the lunar surface.
In late 2025 or early 2026 and again in 2028, SpaceX has been asked to land two astronauts at the south pole of the moon. The “Artemis III” and “Artemis IV” missions are these.
Known as “Blue Moon,” Blue Origin’s 16-metre-tall, 45-tonne vehicle would work on “Artemis V,” which isn’t supposed to happen until at least 2029.
The NASA rocket and capsule that will transport astronauts to the Moon’s vicinity underwent Artemis I, a test flight without crew, in November of last year. A crew of four will complete a straightforward lunar orbit in Artemis II, which is expected to launch the following year.
NASA plans to carry out the transfers at a brand-new space station called Gateway above the moon towards the end of the decade.
The contract for SpaceX was signed in 2021. It plans to use a modified version of its massive, cutting-edge Starship rocket system, which made its debut four weeks ago.
After four minutes, the vehicle spun out of control, ending the first flight. However, SpaceX has already begun discussing a follow-up launch this summer.
One of the crucial elements that will determine whether NASA can continue with the Artemis programme is the readiness of the starship. A first crewed landing on the moon in late 2025 is currently viewed by many commentators as an extremely ambitious goal.