Two well-known, crazy, wealthy people are currently building missiles, and while Elon Musk and SpaceX are attracting the most attention – especially because they do real things in space – Jeff Bezos and his firm Blue Origin have some interesting launchers and other space hardware, including a new lunar landing system that was unveiled yesterday. The lander is called Blue Moon and is interesting in that it is not a single-purpose lander like the Apollo LEM, but seems to be a platform for several types of lunar landing emissions.
The Kind of Lander seems to be the relegation stage of the Apollo LEM after years of training, intense access and a massive growth spurt.
The Blue Moon Lander is able to land over 14,000 pounds of payload on the moon and the cargo can be split between compartments in the main body of the lander and distributed on the upper deck special crane mechanisms can lower Rover and other cargo to the surface.
The payload wells meet the ESPA standard for payload interfaces, and the onboard fuel cells provide power regardless of access to sunlight.
The main engine on the lander is a re-startable, throttling engine with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen called BE-7, which delivers over 10,000 pounds of thrust. This is almost the same as the old descent engine Apollo Landers.
A manned version of the Blue Moon is also planned. Pressured ascent on the upper deck, similar to the original Apollo LEM.
It's worth noting that the landing cushions look small compared to Apollo hardware, but according to Bezos, the Apollo landing cushions were oversized because no one was really sure how close the lunar surface would actually be.
We have not seen any specific plans for when the lander will actually fly to the moon, but Bezos suggested a landing by 2024 was a target – a date that was plotted on the Blue Origin website.
Elon Musk moon has ambitions too; Maybe the two billionaires can land on the moon at the same time and subject the universe to a one-sixth-billion-dollar billionaire fight.