Second chances do exist, at least for Blue Origin. The company founded by Jeff Bezos lost the original contract to design the module lunar of the Artemis Program against Elon Musk’s SpaceX in 2021. NASA had initially considered choosing two contractors, but due to “budget constraints” a single candidate was chosen.
Blue Origin did not sit idly by and moved heaven and earth to convince the US space agency that an alternative was necessary, as originally planned. Those moves paid off, and in March 2022, an additional contest was announced that would exclude SpaceX from participating.
Blue Origin prepares to go to the Moon
This Friday it has finally been announced that Blue Origin has been the big winner of the new contest. The company, which competed against Northrop Grumman and Dynetics, will receive $3.4 billion to develop the Artemis V lunar module (the Artemis III and IV modules are in the hands of SpaceX for their victory in the previous contest).
“Today we are pleased to announce that Blue Origin will build a human landing system as NASA’s second supplier to deliver the Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. Let us remember, of course, that the Bezos company will not be alone in this challenge, but is part of a group known as the “National Team”.
Blue Origin will develop the lunar module alongside partners Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic and Honeybee Robotics. We are talking about the so-called “Blue Moon”, a very important element of the space program since it will be in charge of the astronaut transport of Artemis between the Orbital Gateway Platform and the surface of our satellite.
For now, after a large number of delays and cost overruns, Artemis continues to make steady progress. After the successful takeoff of Artemis I, we already know the names and surnames of the four astronauts who will be part of Artemis II, the first manned mission of the program which, if all goes according to plan, should take place in 2024.
Images: NASA | blue origin
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