Bezos’ Blue Origins wins NASA bid to build lunar lander for astronauts

May 19, 2023, 12:27 PM | Updated: 12:59 pm

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A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launches from Launch Site One in West Texas north of Van Horn on March 31, 2022. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin — with headquarters located in Kent — will be leading the team building the most environmentally friendly astronaut capsule ever.

“This new lander will be built and operated according to NASA’s sustaining lunar lander requirements,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told KIRO Newsradio.

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The company won a coveted NASA contract to build a spacecraft that will send astronauts to and from the moon’s surface.

Boeing already had contracts for the Artemis program, which plans to return to the moon before the decade is out. Boeing and Lockheed Martin are part of the new Blue Origin contract to build the part of the rocket part that lands on the moon.

According to Reuters, the Blue Origin contract is valued at approximately $3.4 billion, with Blue Origin privately contributing “well north” of that amount.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will attempt to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon while exploring more of the lunar surface than ever before. The program collaborates with commercial and international partners and establishes the first long-term presence on the moon, all with the goal of landing the first humans on Mars.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was awarded $3 billion through a NASA contract under the Artemis program in 2021. SpaceX is set to land astronauts on the moon for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972 — which missions will occur later this decade.

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Blue Origin competed for past NASA contracts previously without success but beat out defense contractor Dynetics Inc. to be a part of the Artemis program.

Blue Origin’s mission is expected to ferry two astronauts to the moon’s surface, set for 2029.

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Bezos’ Blue Origins wins NASA bid to build lunar lander for astronauts