Blue Origin, which Bezos created, secures a significant NASA moon landing project.May 19
Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, has joined NASA’s lunar lander program, competing against Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop spacecraft intended to ferry astronauts to the moon’s surface. Blue Origin will develop its Blue Moon lander concept for a mission dubbed Artemis V, which is slated to take off as soon as 2028. The price tag for Blue Origin’s lunar lander development program is likely worth more than $7 billion, with the contract worth about $3.5 billion. Blue Origin is contributing over 50% of the total effort to get to not only this mission but to ensure permanence. SpaceX was awarded the first lunar lander contract — worth $2.9 billion — in April 2021, setting up the company to develop a version of its forthcoming Starship spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis III mission.
Blue Origin has been fighting for a role in the Artemis lunar lander contracts, called the Human Landing System, for years. After SpaceX was awarded its 2021 contract, Blue Origin sued the US government, saying NASA unfairly favored SpaceX and argued that the space agency would be better served by funding both SpaceX’s and Blue Origin’s plans to develop vehicles capable of landing on the moon. NASA later pledged to expand the number of companies with lunar lander contracts to two. In November, NASA awarded SpaceX another contract option, giving the company a pathway to also provide the lunar lander for the Artemis IV mission, slated for 2027. Friday’s announcement marks a sea change for the program, officially adding a second lunar landing provider to compete with SpaceX on missions beyond Artemis V.