Blue Origin recently showcased their first-ever lunar lander prototype called Blue Moon Mark 1, signifying a significant milestone following NASA’s selection of the company to develop the Blue Moon spacecraft for use in the Artemis V mission, scheduled for 2029. It has been several months since this remarkable progress was made.
The current status of Blue Moon Mark 1 is that it serves as a mockup design, representing a one-time use lunar lander. Its purpose is to transport cargo onto the lunar surface, eliminating the need for a return trip. This innovative spacecraft has the capacity to carry payloads weighing up to 3 tons, demonstrating its capability to handle heavy cargo.
Blue Origin has plans to develop an even larger version of the lunar lander called Blue Moon Mark 2. This upgraded model will facilitate the transportation of astronauts between the lunar surface and the spacecraft. The unveiling of Blue Moon Mark 2 is expected to occur in the near future.
These Blue Origin spacecraft will be utilized for the Artemis V mission starting in 2029. However, prior missions, Artemis III-IV, set to take place between 2025-2028 (unless rescheduled), will employ SpaceX’s Starship as NASA aims to foster healthy competition between the two companies in advancing space exploration technology for lunar missions.
In a recent announcement, Blue Origin revealed their impressive Blue Moon MK1 cargo lander demonstrator, standing at a staggering height of approximately 3 stories. This demonstrator will undertake initial missions, serving as a stepping stone to validate and develop technologies for the more advanced MK2 lander, which will be utilized in NASA’s Human Landing System for the Artemis V mission.
TLDR: Blue Origin has presented the Blue Moon Mark 1, a lunar lander prototype which is a crucial step towards their involvement in NASA’s Artemis V mission. This prototype aims to transport cargo to the moon’s surface efficiently without the need for a return trip. Blue Origin plans to introduce the larger Blue Moon Mark 2 for transporting astronauts between the lunar surface and the spacecraft. These spacecraft will be utilized alongside SpaceX’s Starship for upcoming lunar missions. Blue Origin also unveiled the Blue Moon MK1 cargo lander demonstrator, marking progress towards the development of the MK2 lander for NASA’s Human Landing System.