Blue Origin’s founder Jeff Bezos announced Tuesday that a national team will offer a Human Landing System for NASA’s Artemis program to return Americans to the lunar surface by 2024
Bezos’ made the announcement at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington, D.C.
Kent-based Blue Origin has signed teaming agreements with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. These partners have decades of experience supporting NASA with human space flight systems, launch vehicles, orbital logistics, deep-space missions, interplanetary navigation and planetary landings, according to blueorigin.com.
Blue Origin’s combined experience is uniquely positioned to meet NASA’s needs for the Artemis program, the company said. Each partner will bring their industry leading solutions to the following roles:
• Blue Origin, as prime contractor, leads program management, systems engineering, safety and mission assurance, and mission engineering while providing the Descent Element that is based on the multi-year development of the Blue Moon lunar lander and its BE-7 engine.
• Lockheed Martin develops the reusable Ascent Element vehicle and leads crewed flight operations and training.
• Northrop Grumman provides the Transfer Element vehicle that brings the landing system down towards the Moon.
• Draper leads descent guidance and provides flight avionics.
Here’s what officials said:
“National challenges call for a national response. We are humbled and inspired to lead this deeply committed team that will land NASA astronauts on the Moon,” said Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. “Combining our partners’ heritage with our advance work on the Blue Moon lunar lander and its BE-7 engine, our team is looking forward to working with NASA in support of the Artemis program.”
“Lockheed Martin has been honored to help NASA explore space for more than 50 years, providing deep space robotic missions, planetary landers, space shuttle heritage and the Orion exploration spacecraft,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space. “We value Blue Origin’s thoughtful approach to developing human-rated flight systems, and are thrilled to be part of a national team with this mix of innovation and experience. We look forward to safely and sustainably returning our nation to the surface of the Moon by 2024.”
“Northrop Grumman’s commitment to put Americans back on the moon dates back over 50 years ago with the delivery of the first lunar lander for the historic Apollo Program,” said Blake Larson, corporate vice president and president of Innovation Systems, Northrop Grumman. “Along with our ongoing work on the Space Launch System boosters, astronaut escape system, and the Gateway habitat, we are proud to be a part of the Blue Origin national team to support NASA’s Artemis program and the ambitious goal to return to the moon by 2024.”
“When the nation needs precision guidance, it calls on Draper,” said Kaigham J. Gabriel, president and CEO, Draper. “We guided Apollo to the moon and back nearly 50 years ago. We’re ready to do it again with the Blue Origin team for Artemis.”