Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin will take the First woman to the moon’s surface, the multi-billionaire said on Friday as NASA nears a choice to choose its first privately built lunar landers capable of sending astronauts to the moon by 2024.
“This (BE-7) is the engine which will take the first woman to the surface of the Moon,” Jeff Bezos said during a post on Instagram with a video of the engine test at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The BE-7 engine, which Blue Origin has been developing for years, has tallied 1,245 seconds of test-fire time and can power the company’s National Team Human Landing System lunar lander.
Blue Origin leads a “national team” because the prime contractor that it assembled in 2019 to assist build its years lander. That team includes Lockheed Martin Corp , Northrop Grumman Corp , and Draper. Blue Origin has vied for lucrative government contracts in recent years and is competing with rival billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Dynetics, owned by Leidos Holdings Inc, to win a contract to make NASA’s next human lunar landing system to ferry humans to the moon within the next decade.
In April, NASA awarded a lunar lander development contract to Blue Origin’s team worth $579 million, further as two other companies: SpaceX which received $135 million to assist develop its Starship system, and Leidos-owned Dynetics which won $253 million.
NASA is poised to choose two of the three companies “in early March” 2021 to continue building their lander prototypes for crewed missions to the moon beginning in 2024, a place of work spokeswoman has said. But slim funds for the landing systems made available to NASA by Congress, also as uncertainty over the incoming Biden administration’s views on space exploration, have threatened to delay NASA’s decision to advance the lunar lander contracts.