Billionaire Jeff Bezos to unveil plans for moon presence, sources say
10 May, 2019, 04:42
Bezos didn't announce a specific date for the project's first launch, but said the lander would be in ready in time to make President Donald Trump's announced timeline to return people to the Moon by 2024.
Speculation about a lunar mission was stoked by Blue Origin last month when the company tweeted a photo of Sir Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance on an expedition to Antarctica.
The aim is for Blue Moon to land on the south pole of the Moon, where ice deposits have been found in craters.
"It's time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay", said Mr Bezos.
On Thursday, it made that goal public with the announcement of its new Blue Moon lander, an unmanned aircraft that can carry up to 6.5 metric tons for landing on the moon, allowing it to lay the framework for future human missions.
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Bezos showed off a brand new design of its "Blue Moon" lander, which is created to carry 6.5 tons (5.9 tonnes) to the surface of the Moon. Trump in 2017 made a return to the moon a high priority for the US space programme, saying a mission to put astronauts back on the lunar surface would establish a foundation for an eventual journey to put humans on Mars.
In his speech, Mr Bezos said that Blue Origin would be able to meet Trump's deadline, but "only because" the firm had begun designing the lunar lander in 2016.
Privately held Blue Origin, based in Kent, Washington, is developing its New Shepard rocket for short space tourism trips and a heavy-lift launch rocket called New Glenn for satellite launch contracts. New Glenn delivers 3.9 million pounds of thrust from its rocket and will feature a refueling cost of less than $1 million. Bezos called the moon 'a gift, ' saying that it is a good spot for humanity to start manufacturing in space.
His vision is shared by other billionaire-backed private space ventures like Elon Musk's SpaceX and aerospace incumbents like United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin.
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