While US Vice President Mike Pence’s nationalistic speech managed to annoy the international audience at the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington D.C., the Amazon and Blue Origin supremo had a much better reception. As part of an on stage interview during the IAF award ceremony he announced the team he has gathered together to bid for the construction of a lunar lander for NASA. Two bidding teams will be selected to build two separate landers.
Bezos noted that the “National Team” would have Lockheed Martin building a crewed ascent stage, Northrop Grumman – famous for its original Apollo lunar lander – building the transfer stage need to move from high lunar orbit where the planned Lunar Gateway station will be located to low lunar orbit. The team will be led by Blue Origin which has already announced its Blue Moon lander stage. The Draper firm will be in charge of guidance and navigation. Under current NASA plans the initial landing of one of the two successful lunar lander entries will be in 2024.