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Jeff Bezos Gets New Chance to Fly Blue Moon, Musk’s Starship to Land First Artemis Mission

Last year, a legal struggle between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to have their respective companies, Blue Origin and SpaceX, become the providers of the first lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis program ended with the Federal Claims Court handing the win to the latter. Soon enough, Bezos will get another chance.
Blue Origin Blue Moon 12 photos
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On Wednesday, the American space agency updated the world on its need for future crewed Artemis mission. First, it once again confirmed that SpaceX would be providing the lander for the first astronauts to reach the satellite as part of Artemis III, and its full name, which is Starship Human Landing System.

But Artemis III, which should take off by the end of the decade, is only the beginning, and a number of other crewed missions are planned in the future. Staying true to its approach of encouraging companies to come up with new technologies, NASA announced that for subsequent missions it is looking for other “lander concepts capable of ferrying astronauts between lunar orbit and the lunar surface.”

As per the initial details, the new machines should be able to dock with the upcoming Gateway lunar space station, and be large enough to carry not only astronauts, but also science and technology. The call for action is in fact a sort of prequel effort for the development of technologies that would eventually take humans all the way to Mars.

Over the coming weeks, NASA said it will “issue a draft solicitation” for the new lander, laying out the full requirements. A virtual industry day should follow, to answer comments and questions, and then the formal request for proposals will be issued, probably as soon as this summer.

At the time of writing, the contract is called Sustaining Lunar Development. For now, Blue Origin, which will probably be the biggest competitor in this contract with the Blue Moon, did not react in any way to NASA’s announcement.


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