Blue Origin Wins NASA Contract for Artemis V Lunar Mission
In a significant development, NASA has chosen Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, to create the lunar landing system for the Artemis V mission. Scheduled for launch in September 2029, this will be the third manned moon landing under NASA’s Artemis program.
This comes after NASA’s decision to select SpaceX for the first and second manned missions (Artemis III and IV) to the moon. The decision to have a second landing craft under development is part of NASA’s broader strategy to maintain a backup option and encourage competition.
Blue Origin’s landing system will play a pivotal role in delivering four astronauts to the lunar Gateway station using Boeing’s Orion capsule. Once there, two crew members will board Blue Origin’s lander, which will be docked at the space station, and descend to the moon’s South Pole. The mission will last one week, during which the astronauts will operate a rover and conduct scientific experiments, while the remaining crew members on the Gateway station will carry out expansion and maintenance tasks.
The choice of vehicle for the mission remains unannounced. However, it is known that Blue Origin is developing the Blue Moon lunar lander, which could potentially be deployed for this mission.
Last year, Blue Origin contested SpaceX’s win and took legal action against NASA, alleging negligence in addressing safety concerns during contract negotiation. These claims were dismissed by the federal court.
The new contract marks a significant achievement for Blue Origin. Despite having a contract with NASA for a scientific mission to Mars and receiving financial support for the Orbital Reef space station, the company hadn’t previously been successful in the lunar program. It also underscores NASA’s increasing reliance on private sector technology for missions beyond Earth’s orbit, with companies like Axiom Space contracted to create spacesuits for lunar missions.
- I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.
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