The billionaire said on Friday that Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space company will take its first woman to the surface of the moon as NASA approaches a decision to choose the first specially constructed lunar lander capable of sending astronauts to the moon by 2024.
“This (BE-7) is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the moon,” Bezos said in an Instagram post with a video of the engine test this week at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. .
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The BE-7 engine, developed by Blue Origin years ago, registered 1,245 seconds of test fire time and will power the company’s national human landing company’s lunar landing craft.
Blue Origin is leading a “national team” as the main contractor it assembled in 2019 to help build the Blue Moon Lander. This team includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper.
Blue Origin has competed for lucrative government contracts in recent years and is vying with rival billionaire Elon Musk SpaceX and Dynetics, owned by Leidos Holdings Inc., to win a contract to build a human lunar landing system for NASA to take humans to the moon the next day. a necklace.
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In April, NASA awarded a $ 579 million lunar lander development contract to Team Blue Origin, as well as two other companies: SpaceX, which raised $ 135 million to help develop its Starship system, and Leidos-owned Dynetics, which won $ 253 million. Dollars.
An agency spokeswoman said that NASA is preparing to select two of the three companies “in early March” 2021 to continue building their landing models for manned missions to the moon beginning in 2024.
But meager funds for landing systems made available by Congress to NASA, combined with uncertainty about the Biden administration’s incoming views on space exploration, threatened to delay NASA’s decision to go ahead with its lunar landing decades.