Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Moon Lunar Lander Prompting Humorous Taunting From Elon Musk

Last summer, Blue Origin announced that they would be working with the ESA and NASA to create a lunar settlement. The private space company has kept most of the details of their plans under wraps until recently. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, revealed this past week the company’s “Blue Moon” lander and BE-7 engine at a private event.

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United States Vice President Mike Pence announced earlier this year that they hoped the get astronauts on the surface of the moon within the next five years. NASA recently requested more funding for their Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities (ACSC) program. They plan to first send robots to the moon and then later send astronauts. The Blue Moon lander would support the Vice President’s current goal.

The Blue Moon lander will reportedly bring 3.6 metric tons (7,2000 pounds) of materials to the moon. An expanded version can also lift 6.5 metric tons (13,000 pounds) to the surface. The lander relies on liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. The liquid hydrogen will also keep the liquid oxygen cool and fuel cells that will produce electrical power. Bezos hopes that the hydrogen fuel cells will help the lander survive during the cold, dark lunar “nights”.

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The materials would support NASA’s various lunar missions and other potential endeavors. Bezos dreams that governments and companies will be able to eventually manufacture products on the moon and launch them back to Earth. He remarked, “It's time to go back to the moon and this time stay.”

Bezos also announced the BE-7 engine at the event. According to Blue Origin, the BE-7 is a “additively manufactured, high-performance, dual-expander cycle engine, generating 40 kN (10,000 lbf) thrust.” The engine is primarily composed of “‘printed” parts and will be tested for the first time this summer. The BE-7 will help get Blue Moon lander to the surface of the moon. It also utilizes liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.

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Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, poked fun at the Blue Moon Lander. He posted an edited image that poked fun at the Blue Moon lander’s name and spherical shape. SpaceX has a few off its own lunar projects up their sleeves. They are currently developing their Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) in hopes of pursuing long-duration space flights. Its first private passenger, Yasaku Maezawa, will reportedly get the chance to fly around the moon in 2023. They also have a number of contracts with NASA. They were mostly recently awarded a contract for an asteroid redirect mission.

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 A number of private companies and government organizations are working on a variety of space missions, but the moon appears to be a high priority. It will be interesting to see whether the Blue Moon lander truly plays a major role in NASA's upcoming lunar missions.


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