Jeff Bezos just unveiled his plan to get to the Moon (and stay there)
Amazon.com, but in SPACE.
On Thursday, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin founder, gave us a glimpse of what Amazon.com in space will look like. Well, okay, not quite. He unveiled the Blue Moon lunar lander and BE-7 rocket engine, both part of Blue Origin’s plan to get astronauts onto the Moon in 2024 (or sooner).
The Blue Moon lunar lander can transport about 3.6 metric tons of payload to the Moon’s surface. That’s almost exactly the payload of a UPS panel van, although I wouldn’t like to see the next-day shipping charges for that route. The first trip is likely to hold infrastructure to prepare the landing site for future missions.
Bezos said during his speech that “the Moon is a good place to begin manufacturing in space due to its lower gravity than the Earth,” which is a pretty clear indicator of his eventual ambitions.
The ultimate goal of Blue Origin is to help humanity expand across the solar system, making the near-future shown in The Expanse that bit closer. Did Bezos save the TV show from cancellation as appreciation for showing him a roadmap? (er, starmap? planetmap?) Only he could answer that, although the truth is probably something asinine like “he’s a fan.”
The 2024 date is interesting, mainly because that’s also the date set by Vice-President Pence earlier this year for NASA to pull their finger out and get us back to the Moon. Does that hint at a collaboration with Blue Origin, or will we have two sets of American Moon missions? Could they even be up there at the same time, setting the stage for something amusing like a low-gravity volleyball match?
With the test flights of the company’s New Shepard rocket system going well, next up is manned flights
Once those go smoothly, Blue Origins plans to start selling tickets to space tourists, who will be able to tag along in the six-person capacity capsules. Those capsules have huge windows compared to other spacecraft, giving the would-be-astronauts a fantastic view of our Earth.
If anyone is going to get us back to the Moon, I’d bet on Bezos. He’s put his money where his mouth is, bankrolling Blue Origins with a billion of his own dollars each year, gained by selling off his Amazon stocks. With SpaceX aiming to put a tourist on the Moon in 2023, the space race is back on, just this time it’s between capitalists, not capitalism and communism.
What do you think? Are you excited about the future of space travel? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.
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