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Jeff Bezos updates his vision for Blue Moon lander

Jeff Bezos and Blue Moon lander mockup
Jeff Bezos shows off a mockup of the Blue Moon lunar lander. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos today laid out the architecture for missions to the moon aimed at supporting NASA’s goal of landing astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024.

The game plan for Bezos’ space venture, Blue Origin, calls for continuing work on the company’s Blue Moon lunar lander and a new breed of hydrogen-fueled rocket engine known as the BE-7. Blue Origin has been discussing the lander concept with NASA for years, and plans to propose Blue Moon in response to a solicitation that NASA is due to issue this month.

During today’s invitation-only event here at the Washington Convention Center, Bezos said that sending humans to the moon by 2024 and establishing a permanent lunar settlement would be in sync with his own vision for humanity’s future in space.

“I love this — it’s the right thing to do,” Bezos said. “We can help meet that timeline, but only because we started this three years ago. It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”

Bezos said Blue Origin already has been in touch with customers who’d be interested in sending payloads to the lunar surface on Blue Moon, including Airbus, Arizona State University, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PARC, Southwest Research Institute, Britain’s Surrey Satellite Technology and Germany’s OHB.

“People are very excited about this capability,” Bezos said.

The showstopper came when Bezos pulled the wraps off a full-size mockup of the Blue Moon lander. “This is an incredible vehicle, and it’s going to the moon,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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