First commercial manned mission to the Moon | Sunday Observer

First commercial manned mission to the Moon

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the world's wealthiest person, was just five years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. However, he has never forgotten the grainy black-and-white footage from the historic moment. Since then, the moon has always been the centre of the entrepreneur's space-faring ambitions which are channeled through his self-funded spaceflight company, Blue Origin.

On May 9, 2019, at a special conference held in Washington, DC, Bezos came one step closer to fulfilling his dream of sending a mission to the satellite, when he unveiled a mock-up of a flexible lander capable of carrying both humans and cargo to the moon.

Three years in the making, Blue Moon is an insect-like spacecraft that sits atop four spindly legs, designed to help cushion its landing. Its large internal spherical fuel tank will contain liquid hydrogen, which, theoretically, will make it easy to refuel using ice water on the moon's poles. Hydrogen fuel cells are expected to power the device through the lunar night. Prior to touching down on the lunar surface, Blue Moon will release several tiny satellites in the moon's orbit that will help collect scientific data. The spacecraft will then fire up its powerful high-performance engines and, with the help of the lasers fitted in the underbelly, make a perfect landing in a predetermined area.

Once on the ground, Blue Moon will use its robotic arms to lower one or even multiple rovers onto the lunar surface. Though details of how it will be launched into space remain unclear, the entrepreneur, who said the lander's engines would undergo initial testing later this year, is confident Blue Moon will be ready for its mission by 2024. “This is an incredible vehicle,” Bezos said, “and it’s going to the moon.”