Jeff Bezos unveils Moon lander concept

Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs

Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster and Crew Capsule mockup at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his space company, Blue Origin, are set to make an announcement Thursday afternoon but what the big news will be is being kept under wraps until the reveal.

Blue Origin officials gave conflicting answers to questions about when the company would land on the moon with and without people.

"It's an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the Moon", he declared. Blue Origin has been working on the design for three years, said Bezos. Most importantly, it has the capability of carrying 3.6 to 6.5 metric tons of payload that includes a rover and humans interested in traveling to the lunar surface.

Blue Origin has also previously discussed a human outpost on the moon.

While a $30 million prize for private companies to send robotic probes to the moon went unclaimed previous year, one of the competitors, from an Israeli private nonprofit, crashed last month as it tried to land. "It's time to go back to the moon and this time stay".

"I love this", Bezos said of Pence's timeline. The space agency recently updated its space-exploration plans at the behest of Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.

The SpaceX founder tweeted a screengrab of a New York Times article about the Blue Moon lunar lander with the word "Moon" crudely wiped off and replaced with "Balls". It's first stage, Bezos said, is created to be reused 25 times.

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Blue Origin is based in Kent, Wash., and has built out a 750,000-square-foot plant for its New Glenn rocket just outside Kennedy Space Center. Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which Trump has frequently targeted in his broadsides about "fake news".

Bezos, intent on moving Blue Origin closer to commercialization, underscored his broader vision of enabling a future in which millions of people live and work in space. To date, the company has only been able to launch a reusable suborbital rocket (for a quick up and down dip into space) called New Shepherd.

"We were given a gift - this nearby body called the moon", Bezos said. "It's in the form of ice".

A site near the south pole of the Moon was named after Shackleton - a crater with rims that are exposed to nearly continual sunlight.

The media event announcing Blue Moon started with a video of the Apollo 11 Moon landing which occurred nearly 50 years ago.

Though less well-known that Elon Musk's SpaceX, Blue Origin shares similar goals-to build private-sector infrastructure to lower costs and increase access to space travel.

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