Blue Origin is one of 14 companies that are part of NASAs Commercial Lunar Payload Services program for uncrewed lunar landings.
Blue Origin has unveiled a full-sized mockup of an uncrewed version of its Blue Moon lunar lander that will test technologies intended for a crewed version that it is developing for NASA. The crewed version of Blue Moon is slated to be used on NASA’s Artemis 5 mission, likely no earlier than late this decade. The Artemis 3 and 4 landings will use SpaceXs Starship.
The company showed images of the Blue Moon Mark 1 mockup located at an engine manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, on its social media posts. The lander is designed to deliver three tonnes of cargo to the lunar surface.
The first flight of Blue Moon Mark 1 will be what the company calls the Pathfinder Mission, designated MK1-SN001. MK1-SN001 proves out critical systems, including the BE-7 engine, cryogenic fluid power and propulsions systems, avionics, continuous downlink communications, and precision landing.
Blue Origin said that future Mark 1 landers, starting with MK-SN002, will be available to carry customer payloads. Blue Origin is one of 14 companies that are part of NASAs Commercial Lunar Payload Services program for uncrewed lunar landings. The company, has not yet stated when the Pathfinder Mission or future Blue Moon Mark 1 landers will launch.
The Mark 1 lander is part of a continuum that includes the Mark 2 lander intended for crewed landings. NASA selected that lander as part of its Human Landing System (HLS) program in May, joining SpaceXs Starship. NASAs requirements for HLS include landing within 100 metres of a designated location. Blue Origin is developing a terrain relative navigation system using lidar, tested on New Shepard suborbital flights and then later on Mark 1 landings, to get the landing precision down to single-digit metres.