California – Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon founder, and Blue Origin CEO has been circulating a seven-page white paper to NASA leadership and President Trump‘s team to back a shipment service for the moon that would deliver gear for experiments, cargo and habitats by mid-2020.
The Blue Moon spacecraft could carry as much as 10,000 pounds of material and fly atop several different rockets. These includes NASA’s Space Launch System, the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V or its New Glenn rocket, which is under development and expected to fly by the end of the decade, the company said, according to the Washington Post.
“Once on the surface, the lander’s useful payload can be used to conduct science or deploy rovers,” the company said. “A robotic arm attached to the lander will deploy to examine the lunar surface with an array of instruments.”
NASA already has shown a willingness to work with the commercial sector, hiring companies to fly supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station. Also, it is providing technical expertise for SpaceX’s plan to fly an uncrewed spacecraft to Mars by 2020.
Blue Origin is not the only one
This week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that his company had built a small spaceship called Dragon and it’s planning to fly two citizens on a tourist trip to the moon by 2018. The Blue Origin’s proposal is focused less on sending humans to space. Instead, it is focused on sending cargo missions to deliver necessary equipment to create human colonies there eventually.
In 2010, Obama killed the plans for a lunar mission, saying that “we’ve been there before.” However, critics remain frustrated that NASA has not been able to fly humans out of low Earth orbit since the 1970s. So, although Blue Origin’s proposal doesn’t involve people, Musk’s promises to put two tourists into space seem to be getting more real.
Unlike Elon Musk, Mr. Bezos has been less specific about timetables to demonstrate the reliability of his heavy-lift rocket variant, called New Glenn, after the late astronaut and US senator, John Glenn. Bezos’s proposal was first reported by the Washington Post, which is owned by Jeffrey Bezos.
Mr. Bezos has opted to run Origin Blue since its founding at the beginning of the 2000s behind a strict veil of secrecy. Last September, Bezos rocked the international aerospace community by disclosing that his New Glenn rocket would feature a cluster of seven main engines and stand more than 310 feet tall.
Bezos also has stressed the importance of creating reusable technology able to slash transportation costs by operating much more frequently than today’s rockets. He also has talked about his long-term vision of millions of people living and working in space.
Going to space is expensive
In the 1960s, the cost of the entire Apollo program was roughly $20 billion. Right now, with no crew launch vehicle of their own, NASA is paying out $80 million per seat to the Russians to get its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
In 2009, Guy Laliberté, from Cirque du Soleil, paid $35 million to Space Adventures Ltd. to a hitch ride on a Russian Soyuz rocket to the ISS.
Source: The Washington Post