NASA awards contract to SpaceX rivalMay 19
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has scored a $3.4 billion deal for the US space agency’s Artemis V lunar lander, after Bezos tried and failed to stop Elon Musk’s SpaceX from getting the contract for the first. Blue Origin will design, develop, test, and verify its Blue Moon lander to meet NASA’s human landing system requirements for recurring astronaut expeditions to the lunar surface. This will involve one remotely operated demonstration mission before the crewed Artemis V flight, scheduled for 2029. Blue Origin’s founder, who also founded Amazon and owns the Washington Post, sued NASA in an attempt to challenge the bid, but the lawsuit was dismissed in November 2021. NASA appears to have decided to spread the contractor love since then.
The Artemis II capsule, Orion, will be built by Lockheed Martin and three other companies. The same month, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket exploded shortly after launch, but the capsule with the NS-23 mission payload was safely recovered. The company has not carried out a launch since.