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In 2025, Blue Origin Plans to Launch the First Lunar Lander

In 2025, Blue Origin plans to launch the first iteration of the Blue Moon lunar lander, which is a prototype for a crewed lunar lander that the company is building for NASA.

John Couluris, senior vice president of lunar permanence at Blue Origin, stated in an interview that the company intends to launch the first “Mark 1” version of its Blue Moon lander in as little as a year during a March 3 broadcast on CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”

“This lander, we’re expecting to land on the moon between 12 to 16 months from today,” he said, referring to a full-sized mockup of the lander behind him. “That is what our team is aiming towards.”

A freight vehicle and technology demonstrator is the Mark 1 Lander. The prototype was made public by Blue Origin in October, along with the company’s plans to launch MK1-SN001, the first Mark 1 lander, on a “Pathfinder Mission” to test critical technologies including its BE-7 engine.

The mission’s launch date was not specified by the firm when it made this statement: “MK1-SN001 proves out critical systems, including the BE-7 engine, cryogenic fluid power and propulsions systems, avionics, continuous downlink communications, and precision landing.”

While it develops the Mark 2 lander meant to carry people, the corporation plans to launch the Blue Moon Mark 1 lander on at least two occasions. In order to create the lander as part of the Human Landing System (HLS) programme, Blue Origin was awarded a $3.4 billion NASA contract in May 2023. The lander will be utilised on the Artemis 5 mission towards the end of the decade. Prior to that trip, an unmanned demonstration of the Mark 2 lander will take place.

During a panel discussion at the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference on February 21, Jacqueline Cortese, senior director of civil space at Blue Origin, stated, “We are self-funding two missions of our smaller lander, Blue Moon Mark 1,”  “Those are really important precursors for us for our HLS missions,”

She stated at the time that the development of both of those Mark 1 missions was “going great” and that all necessary procurements had been made, but she did not provide a timeline for either mission. “Those missions may be approaching here much more quickly than people think.”

Launching Blue Moon on New Glenn, the rocket Blue Origin has been working on, is necessary. After multiple years of delays, the rocket is scheduled to make its inaugural launch later this year. The launch date has not been announced by the business, but the NASA Mars smallsat mission, known as ESCAPADE, is expected to carry the payload. It was previously revealed that the mission might launch as early as August.

On February 21, Blue Origin brought a “pathfinder vehicle” variant of New Glenn to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, where it conducted three fuelling tests. That pathfinder vehicle did not have the seven BE-4 engines needed for its first stage; instead, it was a combination of flight hardware and mockups.

On March 5, the business said that the vehicle had been returned to its integration facility after the tanking tests were finished. Regarding the anticipated initial launch of the vehicle, no news was given.

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