Blue Origin is now in the running to put Americans back on the moon by 2024. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the ambitious next steps for his aerospace company at a highly-secretive media event in Washington, D.C. yesterday. During the event, Bezos started off by sharing elaborate concept images of self-sustaining space habitats reminiscent of the film Interstellar, with lush greenery and futuristic homes within its walls. But, the real star of the talk turned out to be the moon. On stage, Bezos took the wraps off a massive model of what will be the firm’s first lunar lander, dubbed Blue Moon. “This is an incredible vehicle, and it’s going to the moon,” Bezos said. According to the CEO, the lander has been in development for the last three years and is on track for a 2024 crewed moon landing – falling in line with the five-year deadline revealed earlier this year by Vice President Mike Pence. The plan could ultimately serve as a stepping stone for colonization of the moon and deeper space targets, Bezos suggested. “It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay,” Bezos said during the event. Blue Origin says its lunar lander will be able to carry all sorts of payloads to the surface and can hold multiple metric tons. The craft will “enable a sustained human presence on the moon,” the company said. And, according to Bezos, the company already has about six customers. The lander builds upon technology the firm has been testing over the past few years in its New Shepard rocket, including propulsion and precision guidance, as well as the vertical landing system.
Photo Credit: SpaceNews – Jeff Foust