Blue Origin flies to the moon: Jeff Bezos unveiled a prototype lander

At a private event at the DC Convention Center in the United States the richest man on the planet and head of the private aerospace company, Blue Origin Jeff Bezos showed the layout of the developed lander Blue Moon, which will be used for delivery of scientific cargoes and people on the surface of the satellite. According to Bezos, the company is engaged in the development of the last three years, and is finally ready to present it.

“This is an amazing camera, and it will go to the moon”, — said the head of the private space company, showing the layout of the Blue Moon on the stage of the DC Convention Center in Washington, DC.

The event was invite only journalists and representatives of the space industry. The event began with a video dedicated to the space mission “Apollo 11” in which American astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969.

“If you’re not inspired, then you came to the event,” quipped Bezos.

The head of Blue Origin shared some technical details of the lunar lander Blue Moon. Thus, it was stated that the device will be able to make a soft landing on the moon’s surface from 3.6 to 6.5 tons of payload.

The module will be equipped with a raised stage (to return Land), and will be able to transport on the roof or one big manned lunar Rover, which in turn will be powered by microsatellites “jettisoned” from camera already on the moon, or two compact auto research rowerami.

 

In addition, the module will be equipped with advanced navigation system, a LIDAR system for mapping the lunar surface, as well as a Gigabit Internet on the laser technology for communication with Earth.

During the event, Bezos also revealed a new liquid hydrogen rocket engine BE-7, which the company develops specifically for the lunar lander. According to the head of Blue Origin, the first test firing installation will be held this summer.

Today many of the leading (and only) space Agency’s dream of the Moon. The same US government has set a goal for NASA to return humans to the moon within the next five years, in 2024. By the way, the first American among lunar explorers of the new generation should be a woman, according to the statements by Vice-President Mike Pence and the head of NASA Jim Bridenstine. Even despite the fact that the American space Agency still has not provided to Congress a report on the estimated financial costs for a new lunar program, NASA will need new equipment for lunar exploration and in particular, landing modules, which will be able to deliver people to the surface intact.

Today’s announcement of Bezos, perhaps, was a kind of attempt to show that the company, Blue Origin are aiming for the same time frame, established by the U.S. government for NASA.

“We can help to reach the goal, but only because they started development three years ago,” said Bezos, but has not indicated when it will be the first launch manned module Blue Moon.

It should be noted that the last event, Blue Origin announced in late April, publishing the image of the ship “endurance” of the famous Anglo-Irish Explorer of the Antarctic sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, which clearly was a reference to a lunar crater Shackleton. The interest in this geological formation according to the Washington Post company Blue Origin was shown previously, for example, in 2017 published an information paper describing plans to land in this area.

Representatives of the company even performed in the us Congress, talking about the potential benefits of the study of this crater. For example, one of these advantages is the fact that the crater is under the prolonged coverage of sunlight. On the moon, as you know, a day lasts two earth weeks. During lunar night the surface temperature can drop to -185 degrees Celsius. Exploitation of robotics in such conditions is a very severe test. The crater Shackleton, in turn, is under prolonged exposure to sunlight, potentially simplifying the task for the study of the moon’s surface. Machines equipped with solar panels can work in these conditions for a very long time.

In addition, the Shackleton crater lies at the lunar South pole, where there is potentially the most valuable space resource is water ice. NASA has in the past confirmed the presence of ice deposits in shadowy craters, where the temperature does not rise above -156 degrees Celsius. Water ice is very important. On its basis it is possible to produce rocket fuel and drinking water, which can help people to maintain a permanent presence on Earth’s satellite.

“One of the most important things that we are familiar with the presence of water on the moon. It is there in the form of ice. Stored in shaded craters at the poles of the satellite. This is perhaps the most important resource that is available there,” said Bezos.

Yes, the moon is helium-3 (which can be used as fuel for thermonuclear fusion), but without constant support future colonists water, no colonists there will not be like this helium-3.

The presence of water on the moon important for the company because its a new engine BE-7 lander Blue Moon will run on liquid hydrogen.

“We use liquid hydrogen, because eventually we are going to extract it from lunar water. Because of this we will be able to refuel spacecraft directly on the moon”, said Bezos.

In addition to the theme resources of the moon Bezos also touched on the topic of concepts of space systems, which will be available in the more distant future. For example, he shared with the assembled journalists his dream to see the creation of “O’neill colonies” — a giant space station with artificial gravity, capable of containing on Board millions of people. It should be noted that he addressed this concept is already far not the first time, but once again noted that the main objective of all these discussions is to inspire future generations.

“What I show here today, obviously, will be the project of several generations. This is impossible to establish within one generation. One of our goals is to inspire the future generation,” he said.

 

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