Billionaire Bezos unveils moon lander mockup, touts Blue Origin's lunar goals

Billionaire Bezos unveils moon lander mockup, touts Blue Origin's lunar goals

"Blue Moon's precision guidance and descent sensors utilize machine learning technology to accurately land anywhere on the lunar surface, starting with its first mission", the company said.

It is supported by four legs, with an upper deck where equipment can be fixed. Together, Bezos sees these developments as a way to return humans to the moon's surface, "this time to stay".

Bezos said he liked Vice President Mike Pence's challenge to send someone to the moon by 2024 because, "we can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago".

During his presentation, which sounded at times more like a professorial lecture than a business plan, Bezos did not address a specific launch schedule for the lander or a specific mission for it.

The water derived from that ice can be broken down to produce hydrogen, which could then fuel up the spacecraft for further missions across the solar system.

During the company's unveiling event today, Bezos praised Vice President Pence's previously announced goal of returning humans to the moon by 2024. That's when they plan to launch the New Glenn, a two-stage rocket with a reusable first-stage. And not the lander nor rovers needed by astronauts, among whom will be the first woman to set foot on the Moon.


"The next leap in space will be fueled by commercial companies like Blue Origin and commercial innovation", said former Obama White House space adviser Phil Larson, now an assistant dean of engineering at the University of Colorado. Bezos will retain control of Blue Origin after his divorce this year.

Blue Origin's more familiar spacecraft, the New Shepherd, is created to take humans on suborbital flights.

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, did not talk to journalists at the event. "We're going to leave it, and it's going to make this planet better", Mr Bezos told GeekWire.

The moon has always been central to Bezos's space-faring dreams, as well as the vision of his former professor, the late Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill.

Outside NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Blue Origin has built a new factory for manufacturing a larger rocket, New Glenn, that is scheduled to take satellites, and possibly people, to orbit beginning in 2021. The company had a successful launch earlier this month, reusing one of its New Shepard rockets, which barely goes to the edge of space, for a fifth time.

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