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NASA chooses Blue Origin, partners for second lunar lander

WASHINGTON — Blue Origin – with its partners Lockheed Martin, Draper, Boeing, Astrobotic Technology and Honeybee Robotics – has been selected to build the second human lunar landing system, NASA announced this morning.

In the announcement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson also said the space agency is making an additional investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first man and woman on Mars.

“Our partnership will only add to this Golden Age of human space flight,” Nelson said. “This second lander will help ensure we have the hardware necessary for a series of landings to carry out science and technology development on the surface of the moon.

“This is all in preparation for us to go to Mars.”

The Artemis V mission will launch four astronauts into lunar orbit using NASA’s Space Launch System. They will transfer from the Orion capsule to Blue Origin’s Blue Moon Lander for a weeklong trip to the moon’s south pole. There, they will conduct scientific and exploratory activities.

Having two landers provides backup and reliability for NASA.

“Having two distinct lunar lander designs, with different approaches to how they meet NASA’s mission needs, provides more robustness and ensures a regular cadence of Moon landings,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager, Human Landing System Program at the Marshall Space Flight Center. “This competitive approach drives innovation, brings down costs, and invests in commercial capabilities to grow the business opportunities that can serve other customers and foster a lunar economy.”

Public and private partnerships internationally are NASA’s new way for going to the moon, Nelson said.

“NASA’s work with commercial and international partners is keeping people fixated on the stars,” Nelson said. “If anyone doubts the international aspects, look to Jeremy Hanson who will be the first foreign astronaut – from Canada – chosen for the Artemis II mission to the moon.

“They are eager to be our partner and that is true across the globe.”

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