Bezos unveils Blue Origin will work on lunar lander with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman & Draper

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces Blue Moon, a lunar landing vehicle for the Moon, during a Blue Origin event in Washington, DC, May 9, 2019.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and space venture Blue Origin, unveiled plans on Tuesday for his company to work with industry giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper to build a human-capable lunar landing system.

“We have put together a national team to go back to the moon,” Bezos said, speaking at the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington, D.C.

The coalition plans to bid the system for NASA’s Artemis program, which plans to send U.S. astronauts back to the surface of the moon. Artemis has recently been accelerated, with President Donald Trump’s administration tasking NASA with landing astronauts on the surface by 2024.

Blue Origin is the group’s prime contractor, leading the program’s management and mission assurance. Bezos’ company will also provide its lunar lander, called Blue Moon.

Lockheed Martin will build the vehicle that will then return astronauts from the surface of the Moon, also known as the “Ascent Element.” That Lockheed vehicle will be reusable, Blue Origin said. Lockheed will also lead operations and training of the flight’s crew.

Northrop Grumman will provide a vehicle to bring the landing systems into position in lunar orbit, called the “Transfer Element” vehicle.

Draper, the Cambridge, Massachusetts research and development organization, will lead development of the descent guidance system, as well provide flight avionics.

“We could not ask for better partners,” Bezos said.

Bezos earlier this year unveiled Blue Moon, as well as the rocket engine that will power the lander. .

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos unveils the company’s lunar lander.

CNBC’s Michael Sheetz

The conference’s organizers awarded Bezos with the “IAF Excellence in Industry Award,” recognizing Blue Origin’s space tourism division “for its significant and sustainable contribution towards enabling an enduring human presence in space through its New Shepard launch system and BE-3 liquid hydrogen rocket engine.”

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