Blue Origin announces "Blue Moon"
Today at 4pm EDT in Washington DC, Jeff Bezos held a small press conference with select media of the unvailing of Blue Origin's new project to create a human prescence on the Moon.
This new Lunar Lander is able to fit inside the fairing of New Glenn, their orbital rocket currently in production and testing, and is powered by their new BE-7 engine. The BE-7 engine uses LH2 (Liquid Hydrogen) and LOX (Liquid Oxygen) as a propellant, and will begin hot fire testing this summer. This new engine is also capable of deep throttling for higher precision while landing on the lunar surface and can restart multiple times.
"Blue Moon" also comes in two configurations, one for payloads, and one for crewed missions. The payload configuration features a top deck for large payloads of rovers to sit on top of that can be deployed onto the surface. A second feature of the payload version is smaller payload bays for smaller missions that can be more easily deployed onto the surface, as it's closer to the ground than the top deck. The Crewed configuration features the lander segment with an ascent vehicle on the top to return the crew back into orbit from the surface. They plan to fly americans to the Moon using this vehicle by 2024.
This lunar lander features gigabit bandwidth back to Earth for strong communications and monitoring of the vehicle. It can propulsively soft land 3.6 metric tonnes to the surface and eventually be able to land up to 6.5 metric tonnes of payloads. Lastly, it has hydrogen fuel cells that help power the spacecraft and all of the payloads on board throughout the lunar nighttime.
After years of development and planning, we could see this lander launch as early as 2021, when Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket is operational.
Photo and information: Blue Origin