Blue Origin unveils Blue Moon Mk1 lander

27th Oct 2023
Blue Origin unveils Blue Moon Mk1 lander

Blue Origin made a surprising announcement on social media, revealing its Mk1 version of the Blue Moon lander, which holds a NASA contract for crewed Artemis missions. This specialized version, capable of delivering three metric tons of cargo to any lunar location, focuses solely on landing cargo and science payloads and is not reusable.

Blue Moon Mk1 lander is a big step for Bezos

Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson offered a sneak peek into the future of space exploration through a social media post. The image showcased Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander, Blue Moon Mark 1, adorned with a distinctive golden feather logo, teasing exciting developments in the realm of lunar missions.

The unveiling marked a significant step for Blue Origin, showcasing the one-time-use Mk1 lander designed to test essential technologies. These tests are crucial for the company’s future plans to land Artemis crews on the Moon’s surface during the latter half of this decade.

In his Instagram post, Nelson said that NASA is “proud to partner with Blue Origin, especially on the Blue Moon lunar landing system, which will help ensure a steady cadence of astronauts on the moon to live and work before we venture to Mars.”

When is the launch date for the Blue Moon Mk1 lander?

In their recent social media posts, neither Bezos nor Nelson disclosed a specific timeline. However, it’s worth noting that Blue Origin has secured a substantial $3.4 billion contract with NASA. This contract aims to make their crew-capable lunar lander ready for Artemis moon missions, commencing with Artemis 5, scheduled for 2029. As part of the preparations, at least one uncrewed cargo mission is planned to be sent to the Moon before the crewed missions begin.

Despite earlier setbacks, Blue Origin’s owner, Jeff Bezos, continued to fund the development of Blue Moon, sparking debates about the program’s viability. Recent developments, including the unveiling of the Mk1 lander, indicate that Blue Origin is earnestly pursuing its lunar ambitions. The striking white and gold lander, nearly three stories tall, will be transported in New Glenn’s seven-meter fairing.

According to Blue Origin, pairing Blue Moon with its own rocket enables precise lunar landings, opening up unprecedented research opportunities in the commercial market. This advancement marks a significant leap forward in lunar exploration capabilities.

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