Amazon’s Jeff Bezos just unveiled a mockup of his aerospace company Blue Origin’s lunar lander. Named Blue Moon, it will deliver scientific payloads – and eventually humans – to space. The deadline?
Going back to the moon
Held at the Washington DC’s convention center, Bezos began his presentation with footage from the original Apollo 11 Moon landings in 1969.
“That’s one small step for man… one giant leap for mankind,” the iconic line echoed in the auditorium, setting the mood.
Bezos then appears on stage, giving anecdote after anecdote regarding the human race and its future, which he believes lies in space. The Earth’s resources are “finite,” he emphasized.
“It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay,” he said.
Building the road to space
Bezos wants to make space travel more affordable and commonplace, and Blue Origin is working to make that possible.
“My generation’s job is to build the infrastructure,” Bezos said. “We’re going to build the road to space.”
The company’s new lunar lander, Blue Moon, is an instrumental part of their plans.
With work on the lander having begun in 2016, Bezos estimates he can put humans back on the moon by 2024 – a deadline originally shared by US President Donald Trump. Trump signed a space directive in December 2017 for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.
Building a road to space costs a fortune, naturally.
According to CNN, “Bezos has said he fills Blue Origin’s coffers by selling about $1 billion worth of his Amazon stock each year.”
Tourism – in space?
Blue Moon is not the company’s only project in development aiming to get us in space.
According to Reuters, “Blue Origin is developing its New Shepard rocket for short space tourism trips and a heavy-lift launch rocket called New Glenn for satellite launch contracts.”
“A Blue Origin executive told Reuters last month New Glenn rocket would be ready by 2021,” the news agency continued. “Bezos on Thursday said launching humans on suborbital flights would take place later this year on New Shepard.”
“We are not in a race”
Blue Origin, however, does not see it as a race, but more of a collaboration for the betterment of mankind.
“We are not in a race, and there will be many players in this human endeavor to go to space to benefit Earth,” Blue Origin’s mission reads. “Blue’s part in this journey is building a road to space with our reusable launch vehicles, so our children can build the future.”
As for SpaceX, the Guardian reported “[that the company] plans to bring humans to Mars… Musk previously set the first cargo-carrying Mars mission for 2022 and a crewed mission for 2024.”
The company surpassed a $30 billion valuation in January, as per CNN.
The Middle East has its own horse in the race as well. The UAE is pursuing the goal of setting up a human settlement on Mars by 2117. It is currently training its first-ever astronauts to send them to space to the International Space Station (ISS).
You can watch Bezos’ full presentation here.