After the successful suborbital flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft with three space tourists on board, Jeff Bezos tries again with Luna. The tycoon and founder of Amazon sent a letter in the name of his Blue Origin to the administrator of the US space agency, Bill Nelson, with an offer to cover the costs up to $ 2 billion – this year and the next two years – for the development and production of a lunar lander. And since Bezos loves to play with coincidences, the news of the letter to NASA was posted on the Blue Origin website. close to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 15, launched on July 26, 1971, the first mission in which astronauts – David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden and James B. Irwin – used the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill and the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
The contract for the new lunar lander itself is worth nearly $ 3 billion and is part of NASA’s Artemis program which, at the moment, does not appear to have publicly responded to Blue Origin’s new bearish offer. If NASA were to consider Jeff Bezos’ new proposal, in fact, the games between Blue Orgin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX would reopen. NASA had in fact excluded Blue Origin in the tender procedure last April, assigning instead to SpaceX the contract to develop the first commercial lander to bring astronauts to the Moon.
Since this decision was made, Blue Origin has taken legal action and protested several times. NASA’s Artemis program aims to bring astronauts back to the moon by 2024 as a springboard for the first human mission to Mars. NASA’s Artemis mission will see four astronauts launched on the Orion spacecraft in lunar orbit, two of them then transferring to SpaceX’s human landing system for their journey on our natural satellite. The two astronauts will explore the lunar surface for about a week before returning to Earth.