Blue Origin is a space business owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Recently the company shed some light on its plans to deliver cargo to the moon in 2023. The mission would be in support of a possible mission to put astronauts on the moon as early as 2024.
The supply mission could potentially deliver a literal ton of supplies to the surface of the moon in 2023. Blue Origin chief scientist Steve Squyres offered details of the cargo delivery mission during a virtual symposium at the University of Washington Space Policy and Research Center. The virtual symposium wasn’t the first time that Blue Origin talked about a potential moon cargo mission, which was mentioned over two years ago at another space conference.
Remarks made by Squyres did confirm that the cargo mission is still part of Blue Origin’s plans for the future. A cargo mission prior to a potential landing of astronauts on the moon would be sort of a dress rehearsal. The cargo mission would allow Blue Origin to test the technology for the crew landing system.
Bezos has a grand vision not only to explore the lunar surface again but to have a sustained presence there. NASA does plan to send astronauts back to the moon with its Artemis missions in the coming years. There is no indication that NASA has a contract in place with Blue Origin to support cargo delivery to the moon’s surface ahead of those missions.
The lander Blue Origin is working on could deliver a metric ton of cargo to the surface of the moon. That cargo could include emergency supplies, tools, spare parts, and a rover for Artemis astronauts to use on the surface. Multiple cargo deliveries could help deliver supplies needed to build a sustained presence on the moon. Blue Origin is working with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper on the lander.