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The richest man on Earth will intervene in the lunar race: an important date has been set

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Blue Origin intends to land MK1 on the moon in the next 12-16 months. Source: Andrew McCarthy/Blue Origin/collage by OBOZ.UA

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space company, which has recently been recognized as the richest man on Earth, intends to land the unmanned Blue Moon Mark 1 (MK1) module on the lunar surface by mid-2025 at the latest. This will be a test mission aimed at demonstrating the reliability and efficiency of the developed technologies.

This was stated by Blue Origin's Senior Vice President for Permanent Lunar Residence John Couluris, GeekWire reports. Subsequently, the company, in partnership with NASA, intends to land a manned vehicle on the moon. Of course, if Elon Musk's SpaceX, which has a similar contract with NASA, fails to do it before then.

According to Couluris, Blue Origin expects to land its vehicle on the moon "within the next 12 to 16 months." That is, we are talking about the spring or summer of 2025.

We are talking about the MK1 cargo ship, almost as tall as a three-story building, which is being formed at Blue Origin's production site in Huntsville, Alaska (USA). The mission is to demonstrate the capabilities of the MK1, including its hydrogen-fueled BE-7 engine, precision landing system and ability to deliver up to 3 tons of payload to any location on the Moon.

MK1 is designed for a one-time launch and cargo delivery, but Blue Origin has other plans.

Bezos's company also intends to build a manned version of the Blue Moon ship. It will be able to deliver NASA astronauts to the lunar surface and back. But not quite "back".

"We will launch them into lunar orbit and leave them there. We will refuel them in orbit so that multiple astronauts can use the same vehicle back and forth," Couluris explained.

Blue Origin's $3.4 billion contract with NASA stipulates that the manned lander will be available for the Artemis 5 lunar mission by 2029. The test flight without a crew will be part of the preparation for a future manned flight.

Blue Origin's manned spacecraft, which will remain in lunar orbit, will be refueled by a circular transporter built by Lockheed Martin. It will be able to move supplies between low Earth orbit and lunar orbit.

According to Couluris, Blue Origin and NASA are currently developing the infrastructure to ensure a permanent stay on the Moon.

It is worth noting that the Blue Moon lander is funded by NASA as an alternative to SpaceX's Starship system. The Starship manned lunar spacecraft is to be involved in the Artemis 3 mission, which is currently scheduled for 2026.

Currently, NASA admits that it is facing "daunting" challenges in sending astronauts to the moon. NASA Assistant Administrator Jim Free explained that this is why the space agency needs to have a backup plan.

"If we have a problem with one, we'll have another that we can rely on. If we depend on a certain aspect of SpaceX or Blue Origin and it doesn't work, we have another lander that can take our crews," Free said.

Blue Origin plans to send the MK1 lander to the moon on its reusable New Glenn rocket, which is currently under development. On March 5, Blue Origin announced that it had completed the first round of testing of cryogenic tanks for the rocket.

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