NASA has chosen Blue Origin to develop a human landing system for its Artemis V mission to the moon, as part of its efforts to explore and prepare for future missions to Mars.
Blue Origin will design, develop and test the Blue Moon lander to meet NASA’s requirements for regular expeditions to the lunar surface.
The space agency issued the solicitation for this partnership under its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program in September 2022, as part of ongoing efforts to build the next generation of technology for space exploration.
The contract includes an uncrewed demonstration mission to the moon before a crewed demo in 2029, with a total value of $3.4 billion.
Blue Origin is the second provider to be chosen for NASA’s human landing system, which underscores the space agency’s commitment to driving innovation, lowering costs and investing in commercial capabilities. Previously, SpaceX was contracted to participate in the Artemis III mission.
“Having two distinct lunar lander designs, with different approaches to how they meet NASA’s mission needs, provides more robustness and ensures a regular cadence of moon landings,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, the manager of the agency’s Human Landing System Program.
“This competitive approach drives innovation, brings down costs, and invests in commercial capabilities to grow the business opportunities that can serve other customers and foster a lunar economy.”