NASA readies for 2024 Manned Lunar mission ...Blue Origin to the rescue (+VIDEO) - aksu360

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NASA readies for 2024 Manned Lunar mission ...Blue Origin to the rescue (+VIDEO)

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Blue Origin, a rocket company, has revealed new details about a lunar lander concept that the company’s founder says can support a human return to the moon by 2024.

Called "Blue Moon," the lander is designed to deliver a variety of sizes and types of payloads to the moon's surface, with the eventual goal of establishing what the company calls a "sustained human presence" on the moon. 

This is an incredible vehicle, and it's going to the moon

Blue Origin had been teasing the idea of a lunar lander called Blue Moon over the past 2 years. The company has already received millions of dollars in grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop critical lunar-lander systems.


With his new announcement, Bezos may be angling to get NASA's attention once again. The space agency recently updated its space-exploration plans at the behest of US Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump. NASA originally hoped to test a moon lander in 2024, then try for crewed landings in 2028; but now the agency is attempting to attract private industry to design and build a spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.

The spacecraft is able to land 3.6 metric tons of cargo on the lunar surface, with a “stretch tank” version capable of landing 6.5 metric tons on the surface. The lander has a deck on the top for hosting payloads and a davit, or crane, to lower them to the lunar surface.
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The lander uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants, rather than storable hypergolics. The choice of propellants is one with very high performance. “Ultimately, we’re going to be able to get hydrogen from that water on the moon, and be able to refuel these vehicles on the surface of the moon.”

The liquid hydrogen in particular will be used for other aspects of the vehicle. Boiloff from the liquid hydrogen can be used to keep the liquid oxygen tanks cold, Jeff Bezos said. It will also be used for fuel cells that will produce electrical power for the lander instead of solar cells. “We chose hydrogen fuel cells for this vehicle rather than solar cells because we want to be able to survive the lunar night,” he said, which lasts for 2 weeks.

Those propellants will be used by a new engine, called BE-7, on the lander. The engine will be able to produce 10,000 pounds-force of thrust and is deeply throttlable. “We’re going to hot fire it for the first time this summer,” Bezos said. “The only reason we can do that is we’ve been working on it for 3 years.

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