Will Blue Origin & NASA join hands?


Jeff Bezos has explicitly stated this “return to moon” mission. He is not following the footsteps of other masters in the space industry, but moving and growing at his own pace. His declaration of sending a lunar lander on the moon is evident for his keenness and faith in his vision. Billionaire Jeff, on the one hand, is the brain behind Amazon, on the contrary, his Blue Origin is a private company running space missions and research. Blue Origin is amongst the ten teams sharing funding of $10 million to search techniques so the resources on moon and mars can be utilized. This research aims at advancing resource utilization techniques (ISRU), so the ice in the lunar soil can be used to make drinkable water or breathable oxygen or some gas that can serve as the rocket fuel.

NextSTEP-D Program (Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships) has been set up by NASA where D stands for Appendix D. Three tracks have been set up to execute this mission.

Track 1 will help identify resource utilization techniques to fill the information gaps. Track 1 includes United Launch Alliance, the University of Illinois at Urbana and UTC Aerospace Systems in addition to Blue Origin. Track 2 is for testing and simulation in the space. BlazeTech Corp., Paragon Space Development Corp., Skyhaven Systems and Teledyne Energy Systems are the companies participating in track 2. Track 3 constitutes Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp. and OxEon Energy LLC as significant companies which will focus on extensive subsystem development and testing. Track 2 & track three projects will run for more than three years. Corporate collaboration shall prove to be fruitful as per NASA’s director of advanced exploration systems. 

The potential in lunar research is immense if we could harness the resources and capabilities keeping in mind long-term exploration goals. Resource utilization and management would not only benefit in lunar missions but also on Mars and other expeditions in the deep space.

Nasa has a plan to begin building a colony by 2022 in the lunar orbit and to send lunar landers to the surface of the moon. 

NASA’s current timeline sets 2022 as the date to begin building a colony in lunar orbit and start sending medium-class landers to the lunar surface. The Blue Moon lunar lander is a project by Blue Origin where an alliance of commercial companies will come into play for the launch of a spacecraft. United Launch Alliance to has partnered with Masten Space Systems for another lunar lander called Xeus.