Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's space company Blue Origin is all set to take the first woman to the moon's surface. The Amazon billionaire and world’s richest man announced his plans in a video post on Instagram. "This (BE-7) is the engine that will take the first woman to the surface of the Moon," Bezos said in a post on Instagram with a video of the engine test this week at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The BE-7 engine, which Blue Origin has been developing for years, has tallied 1,245 seconds of test-fire time and will power the company's National Team Human Landing System lunar lander.
Blue Origin's plan to build lunar lander for 2024 mission
Bezos’ space firm is currently competing with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Leidos-owned Dynetics (LDOS) to win a contract to build NASA's next human lunar landing system to take humans to the moon by 2024 as part of its Artemis programme.
NASA will choose two of the three companies by March 2021 as it nears a decision over who will supply its first privately built lunar landers.
According to reports, in April, NASA awarded a lunar lander development contract to Blue Origin's team worth $579 million (roughly Rs. 4,300 crores), as well as two other companies: SpaceX which received $135 million (roughly Rs. 1,000 crores) to help develop its Starship system and Leidos-owned Dynetics which won $253 million (roughly Rs. 1,900 crores).
Plans to send humans to the moon
In 2019, Jeff Bezos unveiled plans of sending humans to the moon and setting up colonies on the lunar surface by 2024. Bezos had then unveiled a two-story-tall replica of Blue Moon - an unmanned lunar lander built by his space research company that apart from transporting astronauts to space would also ferry payloads to the lunar surface and launch satellites into the lunar orbit.