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Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Moon Lander, Says It Could Be Used for 2024 Mission

As SpaceX keeps struggling with a series of unfortunate events centered around its Crew Dragon capsule, rival company Blue Origin is slowly but surely taking huge steps toward becoming a serious competitor.  
Blue Moon lander with ascent stage and astronauts 12 photos
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NASA currently has two major targets for the next decade: the return of crewed space launches to U.S. soil and a crewed mission to the Moon. SpaceX is generally busy handling the first of these tasks, and so far it did not announce plans to develop a lunar lander.

Blue Origin on the other hand, while also striving to be one of the commercial crew partners for NASA, unveiled at an event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on Thursday its Moon-going machine.

Called Blue Moon, the lander will be capable of sending both cargo and humans to the satellite, and could in essence be ready for the 2024 mission NASA has been tasked with by the American government.

According to Jeff Bezos, the lander will come in different sizes, being capable of hauling between 3.6 and 6.5 metric tons of cargo in support of a lunar colony, and it can also be fitted with a human-rated ascent stage.

Once on the surface, the lander can stay there for long periods of time thanks to the fuel cells it is fitted with.

Having been in development in total secrecy for the past three years and based on the work done by the company with the New Shepard, Blue Moon will be powered by a new addition to the BE family of engines, the BE-7. The unit is powered by a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen and will have a thrust of 40 kN (10,000 lbf).

Hotfire tests for the engine are scheduled to begin this summer, and Blue Origin will make them available to other companies as well.


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