Amazon founder and mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos has plans for a Blue Origin moonshot. For those who don’t know, Blue Origin is the name of the Bezos-owned space company that is currently trying to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the field of reusable rockets and low-cost space travel. But as reported by Popular Mechanics, Bezos apparently wants to get on the “to the moon” bandwagon.
It’s Not Just Blue Origin
Moon shot fever seems to have hit the aerospace industry and government in recent months, with private companies and national space agencies all setting their eyes on Earth’s nearest neighbor again. Only days ago, Elon Musk announced his intention to launch a pair of wealthy tourists on a trip around the moon and back to the Earth sometime around 2020.
With Musk, this rocket trip would be carried out by using his yet-to-be tested Falcon 9 Heavy. This is a much more powerful, and larger, version of his current Falcon 9 rocket we’ve seen carry out so many spectacular landings at launch sites or on barges.
— RollStroll (@rollstroll) March 10, 2017
China is also talking about sending either manned or unmanned spacecraft to the moon. Even India is thinking about orbiters and rovers. The director of the European space agency, the ESA, is proposing the creation of a lunar village on the surface of the moon that would presumably be similar to the bases various nations currently maintain in Antarctica.
NASA itself is getting in on the act, with plans to send its yet-to-be completed Orion vehicle on a crewed flight to the moon as well. This flight would probably take place after the SpaceX flight, since their Dragon 2 vehicle seems further along than NASA’s Orion.
Plans By Blue Origin
Moon bases and manned landings aren’t – at least initially – on the horizon for Blue Origin. As reported by Aviation Week and Space Technology, Bezos has a much more pragmatic plan for his moon landings. As he puts it:
When it comes to space, I see it as my job to build infrastructure the hard way — I’m using my resources to put in place heavy-lifting infrastructure so the next generation of people can have a dynamic, entrepreneurial explosion into space. I want thousands of entrepreneurs doing amazing things in space, and to do that we need to dramatically lower the cost of access to space.
Instead of carrying tourists on excursions orbiting the moon, or constructing his own lunar facilities, Blue Origin wants to use the rockets that it already has in the development stages – along with other assets created by NASA – to deliver cargo to the surface of the moon.
— Lifeboat Foundation (@lifeboathq) March 6, 2017
In short, Bezos wants to extend his Amazon delivery empire into outer space by providing the capability of landing roughly five tons of cargo on the surface of the moon. This cargo could belong to NASA, the ESA, or some other private company. But Blue Origin would deliver it to whatever point on the moon was requested by its client.
Bezos spoke on the topic at a recent dinner.
“We are hoping to partner with NASA on a program called Blue Moon, where we would provide the cargo-delivery service to the surface of the Moon, with the intent over time of building a permanently inhabited human settlement on the Moon. It’s time for America to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”
Again though, while Jeff Bezos hopes that this delivery capability would facilitate the creation of human bases and settlements on the lunar surface, the Blue Origin moon shot is not in itself aimed at actually establishing such settlements.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]