Jeff Bezos, the founder of rocket company Blue Origin, unveiled on Thursday a mockup of a lunar lander spacecraft while discussing the mission to the Moon. Bezos told the audience the lander would be enabled to deliver payloads to the surface of the lunar up to four smaller rovers and also shoot out satellites to orbit around the Moon which included NASA officials and potential Blue Moon customers.
During his hour-long presentation at Washington’s convention center, Bezos waved his arm, and a black drape behind him dropped to reveal the two-story-tall lander mockup, which he said could deploy up to four smaller rovers and shoot out satellites to orbit the Moon.
At the event, Jeff Bezos took the stage to address the selected members of the executives, government officials, media, and a gaggle of middle schoolers to reveal new details of his plan to get to the Moon by 2024. During his presentation, Bezos disclosed a model of one of the proposed rovers which were roughly the size of a golf cart and presented a new rocket engine called BE-7, which can blast 10,000 pounds (4,535 kg) of thrust.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in March called on NASA to use “any means necessary” to put American astronauts on a Moon-orbiting space station and eventually on the Moon’s South Pole by 2024.
For three years Blue Moon was in development and Bezos said that the larger variant of the lander would be able to bring Americans back to the Moon as earliest by 2024. It’ll carry the rover that could do scientific missions and shoot off small satellites.
Bezos’ company is in all trigger to compete. It is also building a bigger rocket, New Glenn, that will compete with orbital class rockets like the SpaceX Falcon 9 that is enabled to deliver commercial satellites and other large payloads to orbit. It is clear that Blue Origin is rapidly expanding its footprint at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it’s manufacturing New Glenn on land leased from NASA. The first launch of Blue Origin’s big rocket could come as soon as 2021.