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Jeff Bezos held a rare media event today to unveil Blue Origin's new model for a lunar lander.
Blue Origin Reveals a Model Lunar Lander
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos held a rare press event today to unveil Blue Origin's new lunar lander model which the company hopes to be in service by no later than 2024.
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“This is an incredible vehicle and it’s going to the moon,” Bezos said.
The 2024 timetable aligns with the time table laid out by US vice president Mike Pence, pushing NASA to build a space platform in orbit around the moon and return American astronauts to the moon, specifically the south pole of the moon where there is a large deposit of water ice that scientists believe could provide drinking water, oxygen, and fuel for rocket boosters.
“I love this,” Bezos said of the 2024 timeline. “We can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago. It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”
Billionaire Commercial Space Race
Bezos' lunar lander is an ambitious jump into the ongoing competition for NASA contracts by private space companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Blue Origin is starting from some ways behind Elon Musk's SpaceX and ULA, who are both currently bidding and fulfilling NASA cargo contracts and both are expected to begin carrying astronauts into space within the next year or two. Blue Origin is still developing the rockets it will need to carry out government contracts, but it is making rapid progress on this front. It is currently developing a short-range space tourism rocket as well as a heavy lift rocket to carry out cargo missions to the International Space Station.