While women have gone to space for exploration, they have not stepped on the moon yet.
Blue Origin, space company of Jeff Bezos, will be taking a woman to the moon’s surface for the first time. While women have gone to space for exploration, they have not stepped on the moon yet. Jeff Bezos announced the company’s decision to take a woman astronaut to the moon at a time when NASA is deciding on picking its first privately built lunar landers. These lunar landers have the capability to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. The 56-year old billionaire took to Instagram to announce this on Friday and his post read, “This (BE-7) is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the Moon.” Bezos also shared a video of the lander’s engine test that took place at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“The BE-7 is a high-performance, additively manufactured liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen lunar landing engine with 10,000 lbf of thrust — deep throttling down to 2,000 lbf for a precise landing on the Moon,” read his Instagram post. Blue Origin has been developing the BE-7 engine for many years now. During the test, the engine tallied 1,245 seconds of test-fire time and is expected to fuel the company’s National Team Human Landing System lunar lander.
A report by The Indian Express noted that Bezos led space company is leading a “national team” as the prime contractor. This team was assembled last year in order to build its Blue Moon lander and it includes Northrop Grumman Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp, and Draper. It is to note that the company has been competing with Elon Musk’s famous SpaceX and Leidos Holdings Inc’s Dynetics for NASA’s next human lunar landing system that will ferry humans to the moon in the next few years. So far, Blue Origin has been contending for lucrative government contracts.
Earlier this year, NASA also awarded Blue Origin’s team, a lunar lander development contract accounting for $579 million along with the other two competing companies. While SpaceX received $135 million for its Starship system, Leidos-owned Dynetics was given $253 million. Come March 2021, NASA is expected to pick two companies out of the three and these two companies can continue to build lander prototypes for moon missions.