NASA Picks Blue Origin-Led Group to Build Moon Lander for Artemis V Mission
NASA has chosen a team led by Blue Origin to build the lunar lander for the Artemis V mission that will return astronauts to the moon. Blue Origin’s team consists of Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, with these organizations providing various components for the lunar lander. The decision was made after a series of competitive procurements, with the contract set at $2.9 billion. This is a significant milestone for NASA towards its goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024 and establishing a sustainable presence on the lunar surface.
The Artemis program was announced by the Trump administration in 2019, and it aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon. It is a collaborative effort between NASA and commercial partners to achieve sustainable exploration of the moon and prepare to send humans to Mars. NASA’s budget for the program is $28 billion for the next five years, with $3.4 billion allocated to the lunar lander development.
Blue Origin is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest person. His company’s lunar lander design, called the Blue Moon, has been in development for years and was unveiled in 2019. It is a large, three-stage vehicle capable of carrying payloads to the moon’s surface, with the capability to land anywhere on the lunar surface and transport up to four astronauts to and from the moon.
Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman are major aerospace companies with extensive experience in space exploration and development of spacecraft systems. Draper will provide guidance, navigation, and control systems, while Lockheed Martin will provide the crew module and reusable transfer vehicle. Northrop Grumman will provide the descent element, which will take the lander from lunar orbit to the surface.
The lunar lander is a critical component of the Artemis V mission, which aims to return humans to the moon for the first time since 1972. The mission will involve a crew of four astronauts, who will spend seven days on the lunar surface conducting scientific experiments, collecting samples, and testing technology that will be essential for future missions to Mars. The lander will also provide a platform for future commercial and international missions to the moon.
The development of the lunar lander is a complex and challenging task, and NASA requires a robust and reliable system to support future lunar exploration. The team led by Blue Origin has extensive experience in spaceflight and the development of spacecraft, and the collaboration with Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman strengthens the system’s technical capabilities and reliability.
In conclusion, NASA has selected a team led by Blue Origin to build the lunar lander for the Artemis V mission, a critical component of the Artemis program that aims to return humans to the moon and establish a sustainable presence. The team consists of Blue Origin, Draper, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, providing various components for the lunar lander. The collaboration enhances the technical capabilities and reliability of the lunar lander, paving the way for future exploration of the moon and eventual missions to Mars.