Aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight company Blue Origin has a goal of reaching the moon by the year 2023. Founded by Amazon.com’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in 2000, Blue Origin revealed the plans to support permanent settlements on the moon with the first phase involving a lunar landing mission by 2023 at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace conference in Renton, Washington recently. And to make this plan a reality, Blue Origin acknowledged it may need to partner with international organizations and work closely with NASA.
NASA is actively soliciting proposals for commercial lunar payload services. Those proposals are due in the middle of August. And the landings are due by the end of next year. Companies such as Masten Space Systems and Moon Express are preparing medium- to heavy-class lunar concepts that could be ready for deployment by the early 2020s.
The Blue Moon program is considered the company’s “first step to developing a lunar landing capability for the country, for other customers internationally, to be able to land multi metric tons on the lunar surface,” said Blue Origin business development director A.C. Charania via GeekWire. “Any permanent human presence on the lunar surface will require such a capability.”
Other initiatives that Blue Origin is focused on include a suborbital spaceship called New Shepard, which could start carrying passengers by the end of the year. And Blue Origin is also working on the BE-4 rocket engine, which is powered by liquefied natural gas. Plus Blue Origin has a number of satellite launch deals scheduled for the early 2020s as well.
As of right now, Blue Origin has over 1,500 employees. This is more than double the employee count from two years ago. And in April, Blue Origin successfully launched a reusable rocket that landed back on Earth. Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket took off from West Texas and cruised 2,200 MPH and then landed again on the launchpad.