Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos announced at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington DC today (Tuesday) that his space company is to head up a national team to offer a human landing system for NASA's Artemis programme to return Americans to the lunar surface by 2024.
Speaking to several thousand delegates Bezos, who received a standing ovation at the end of his talk, said: “This is a national team for a national priority. Team is the only way to get back to the Moon fast and this time we are going back to stay.”
After showing images of the Blue Moon lander, he revealed Blue Origin has signed teaming agreements with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper.
Each partner will bring their industry leading solutions to the following roles:
∙ Blue Origin, as prime contractor, leads program management, systems engineering, safety and mission assurance, and mission engineering while providing the Descent Element that is based on the multi-year development of the Blue Moon lunar lander and its BE-7 engine.
∙ Lockheed Martin develops the reusable Ascent Element vehicle and leads crewed flight operations and training.
∙ Northrop Grumman provides the Transfer Element vehicle that brings the landing system down towards the Moon.
∙ Draper leads descent guidance and provides flight avionics.
"National challenges call for a national response. We are humbled and inspired to lead this deeply committed team that will land NASA astronauts on the Moon," added Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin.
"Combining our partners' heritage with our advance work on the Blue Moon lunar lander and its BE-7 engine, our team is looking forward to working with NASA in support of the Artemis programme."
A full scale model of the Blue Moon lunar lander, unveiled earlier this year, is being displayed at the IAC at the entrance to a large commercial exhibition area.