Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Origin's New 'Blue Moon' Lunar Lander

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The new rocket will fire test for the first time as soon as this summer.

The announcement comes on the heels of Vice President Pence's directive that NASA should put American astronauts onto the Moon within the next five years by any means necessary.

Blue Origin describes Blue Moon as a "flexible lander" created to deliver payloads ranging from small to large to the Moon's surface.

"It's time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay", said Mr Bezos.

Blue Origin has been working on the liquid-hydrogen powered lander for three years, Bezos said. As well, the private space company says its new lander is able to both host and deploy payloads on the way to the Moon, make "precise and soft" landings on the lunar surface, and pave the way for a persistent human presence in space.

Bezos said the moon's resources could be useful to Blue Origin missions involving its New Shepard, a reusable suborbital rocket system, and New Glenn, an orbital reusable launch vehicle the company says will "build the road to space".

Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world and head of space company Blue Origin, announced on Thursday his intent to participate in the new race to the Moon with a high-tech lander to carry vehicles and equipment.

"That's the path that we would be on", Bezos said.

Blue Origin is developing its New Shepard rocket for short space tourism trips and a heavy-lift launch rocket called New Glenn for satellite launch contracts.

Blue has also discussed a human outpost on the moon.

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NASA has already set its sights on the moon's south pole, a region believed to hold enough recoverable ice water for use in synthesising additional rocket fuel as well as for drinking water. It plans to launch the powerful space vehicle from Cape Canaveral.

Though less well-known that Elon Musk's SpaceX, Blue Origin shares similar goals-to build private-sector infrastructure to lower costs and increase access to space travel.

"One of the most important things we know about the moon today is that there's water there", Bezos said.

Shackleton and his crew had planned to cross Antarctica via the South Pole in the ship, but it became trapped in ice, forcing them to evacuate.

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