Nasa, SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic – who will put humans back on the Moon first?

Nasa is lining up against Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin in a who-can-flash-the-most-cash battle of …

WITH Amazon boss Jeff Bezos promising this week to land humans on the Moon by 2024, the all-new space race is gathering pace.

Nasa is lining up against Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin in a who-can-flash-the-most-cash battle of the billionaires.

 Jeff Bezos has unveiled the lunar lander he hopes will take people to the moon within five years

AFP or licensors
Jeff Bezos has unveiled the lunar lander he hopes will take people to the moon within five years

Each is fighting to build a rocket that can take people to space on the cheap – and almost all of them are gunning for the Moon.

Whoever gets there first will make an inordinate amount of cash via exclusive deals with global space agencies.

They’ll carry cargo and astronauts to Earth’s rocky neighbour for sums in the hundreds of millions of dollars and stake a claim as the world’s pioneering space experts.

Humans haven’t set foot on the moon since 1972. We’ve summed up who’s taking us back – and when – below.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos unveils Blue Origin’s lunar lander called Blue Moon

Blue Origin

Blue Origin is a private space firm based in Seattle, USA.

It’s run and funded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos – the world’s richest man.

Like bitter rival SpaceX, Blue Origin is aiming to make space travel cheaper via reusable rockets.

So far, its work has mostly focussed on brief space flights for tourists, but the firm recently announced intentions to go to the moon.

On Thursday, Bezos unveiled a new lunar lander built by Blue Origin that he hopes will take people to the moon by 2024.

He wants to land a robotic ship the size of a small house dubbed Blue Moon on the rock using a brand new rocket engine.

Bezos hopes to help Nasa build a permanent moon base. He said: “It’s time to go back to the moon. This time to stay.”

 Outside of its moon ambitions, Blue Origin wants to begin sending paying tourists on short space flights. Pictured is a test of one of its New Shepherd rockets, which will carry out its first manned test launch later this year

Reuters
Outside of its moon ambitions, Blue Origin wants to begin sending paying tourists on short space flights. Pictured is a test of one of its New Shepherd rockets, which will carry out its first manned test launch later this year
 British billionaire Sir Richard Branson

AFP or licensors
British billionaire Sir Richard Branson

Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic has not announced any goals to reach the moon, instead sticking to tourist flights to the edge of space.

It’s run by British billionaire Richard Branson, who founded the firm in 2004.

Virgin Galactic sent its first manned flight to space last year – the first private space firm to do so.

Its rocket/plane hybrid SpaceShipTwo Unity soared 50 miles above Earth in December ahead of the company’s first commercial spaceflights for private passengers later this year.

 Virgin Galactic will use a rocket/plane hybrid to fly tourists to the edge of space

PA:Press Association
Virgin Galactic will use a rocket/plane hybrid to fly tourists to the edge of space

AP:Associated Press

SpaceX is run by Tesla boss Elon Musk

SpaceX

Run by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk, SpaceX is seen by many as the front runner in the new space race.

It regularly launches its reusable Falcon 9 rockets on missions for agencies like Nasa and the US National Security Agency.

SpaceX’s main goal is launching satellites and eventually astronauts for these high-paying punters.

But it also has ambitions to travel further using a new long-distance rocket currently in development, dubbed Starship.

If all goes according to plan, Starship will launch a Japanese billionaire on a round-the-moon mission in 2023.

SpaceX has no public ambitions to actually land people on the moon. Its grand plan involves settling other worlds such as Mars.

Musk has repeatedly said the goal of SpaceX is to help humanity become a “multi-planet species”.

 SpaceX plans to use a new rocket dubbed Starship to carry people to the Moon and beyond

Social Media – Refer to Source
SpaceX plans to use a new rocket dubbed Starship to carry people to the Moon and beyond
 Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine

EPA
Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine

Nasa

Nasa wants to build a “lunar gateway” in orbit around the Moon, a mini version of the International Space Station.

Its current ambitions are to have the manned Moon base in place by 2028.

Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine said in March: “We will go to the Moon in the next decade with innovative, new technologies and systems to explore more locations across the lunar surface than ever before.

“This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay.”

 Artist's impression of Nasa's Lunar Gateway orbiting base

Nasa
Artist’s impression of Nasa’s Lunar Gateway orbiting base

The plan, which has been in development for a few years, relies on a lunar outpost that Nasa calls Gateway.

This is a permanent space station that orbits the Moon and houses astronauts, laboratory experiments and more.

Once finished, astronauts and robot probes will fly down to the lunar surface to conduct experiments.

Construction on Gateway is expected to begin as soon as 2022, and Nasa plans to complete the base within the next 10 years.

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Nasa revealed plans for a permanent moon base last year, with boss Jim Bridenstine declaring “we want lots of humans in space”.

It recently picked Blue Origin rival SpaceX to front a world-first mission to deflect a hazardous space rock by crashing a spaceship into it in 2022.

And here are the space mysteries that Nasa simply can’t explain.

Are you excited about next week’s Blue Origin announcement? Let us know in the comments!


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Musk Vandalizes Sex Scandal Space Bro Bezos’ Mooncraft ‘Blue Balls’

By CCN: Elon Musk has just proved to Jeff Bezos that being the world’s richest man doesn’t offer immunity against below-the-belt jokes. This was …

By CCN: Elon Musk has just proved to Jeff Bezos that being the world’s richest man doesn’t offer immunity against below-the-belt jokes. This was demonstrated on Twitter after the Amazon founder and CEO, as well as the founder of space firm Blue Origins, launched a mock-up of a new mooncraft designed to ferry humans and equipment to the lunar surface by 2024.

In the tweet, Musk demonstrated that while the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently limited what he can communicate on social media, it certainly hasn’t castrated his ability to tell lewd jokes.

Multitalented Elon Musk Has Sketchy Photoshopping Skills

In the tweet fired off on Thursday evening, the Tesla boss as well as CEO of space exploration firm SpaceX edited an image on the Blue Origins’ mooncraft known as Blue Moon effectively changing the name to Blue Balls. To cap it off, Musk advised Bezos to ‘stop teasing’.

Elon Musk, Jeff BezosElon Musk, Jeff Bezos

Elon Musk calls Jeff Bezos’ spacecraft ‘Blue Balls’ | Source: Twitter

Bezos was recently embroiled in a sex scandal. This was after an extra-marital affair with a TV star was reported by the National Enquirer. There were various twists and turns as the scandal unraveled including the tabloid’s failed attempt to publish nudes of Bezos. The Amazon CEO and his wife of 24 years are currently in the process of divorce.

Musk Taking Shots at Bezos? This Is Not Virgin Territory

This is not the first time that Musk is taking shots at Bezos. Early last month Musk branded Bezos a ‘copycat’ on Twitter. This was after Amazon announced it was sending satellites into low earth orbit to provide broadband to underserved areas. Fourteen months earlier, SpaceX had launched its own version of internet satellites via its Falcon 9 rocket.

.@JeffBezos copy 🐈

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2019

Though SpaceX has dominated the public eye for the past two decades, Blue Origins is nearly two years older. SpaceX was started on May 6, 2002 while Blue Origins was founded on September 8, 2000.

Bad Bile or Just Regular Tech Bro Rivalry?

Musk has also at times tried to play the contempt card whenever the topic of Bezos is brought up. In October 2017 during a BBC interview, Musk didn’t sound too thrilled to be told he was competing with Bezos. When told ‘you are competing with the likes of Jeff Bezos’ in the space sector, Musk retorted ‘Jeff Who?’

Elon Musk – Not Your Regular Detroit Car CEO

As an entrepreneur and business head, Musk has regularly demonstrated he doesn’t take himself too seriously. A case in point is farting sounds software update that Tesla rolled out late last year. It would be inconceivable to imagine traditional carmaker CEO in Detroit spending company resources on such a feature and going on to publicize it.

To air is human https://t.co/bnDdnw2ydT

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 12, 2019

The farting sounds had all the hallmarks of Musk’s in-jokes as their names betrayed. One of the names given to the fart sounds include Short Shorts Ripper. This was possibly in reference to Tesla short sellers, a group Elon Musk has declared an aversion for.

Other farting sounds were named after companies Musk has founded or products unveiled by his startups. This includes the Boring Fart (a reference to The Boring Company), Neurastink (in honor of neurotechnology company Neuralink). The Falcon Heavy farting sound is obviously in honor of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets.

The fart noises in the Tesla cars, however, do not produce a smell. Yet. But Jeff Bezos is definitely feeling the stink with the latest Musk burn.

Elon Musk mocks Jeff Bezos’ Blue Moon lander in cheeky tweet

Elon Musk took a shot at fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space colony dreams late Thursday with an altered photo. The SpaceX founder tweeted a …
Judge Considers Whether To Hold Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk In Contempt Over Tweet

SpaceX boss Elon Musk had a mocking reaction to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Moon lander.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Elon Musk took a shot at fellow billionaire Jeff Bezosspace colony dreams late Thursday with an altered photo.

The SpaceX founder tweeted a screen grab of a New York Times article about the Blue Moon lunar lander with the word “Moon” crudely wiped off the photo and replaced with “Balls.”

Oh stop teasing, Jeff 😉 pic.twitter.com/wuWPENcSE1

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2019

“Oh stop teasing, Jeff,” Musk wrote, adding a winky emoji.

Amazon founder Bezos unveiled the lander and his dream of colonizing the moon at a Washington DC event on Thursday. Bezos may be the world’s richest person, but Musk’s company is further along in developing larger rockets for orbital space travel. Musk last year outlined his plans to colonize Mars.

Now playing:Watch this: Jeff Bezos reveals plans for the moon and beyond
3:33

In April, Musk shared a rendering of SpaceX’s sleek Starship sitting on the moon’s surface, but the company hasn’t announced plans to bring people to our lunar neighbor — it’s aiming to send artists on a trip around the moon in 2023. Bezos wants to bring people to the surface by 2024.

On Thursday, Musk told a Twitter follower that we can expect the next Starship update around June 20.

Blue Origin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published at 2:52 a.m. PT.

Updated at 3:32 a.m. PT: Adds more detail.

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‘Stop teasing, Jeff’: Elon Musk wants a better look at arch-rival Bezos’ mighty vessel

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two rival billionaires with big rockets and even bigger plans to colonise space. Now Musk has delivered a playful slap to …
It’s a battle of the billionaires as Musk and Bezoz compete to colonise space (Image: Reuters)

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two rival billionaires with big rockets and even bigger plans to colonise space.

Now Musk has delivered a playful slap to his arch-rival after his company Blue Origin unveiled a new moon lander spacecraft the size of a house.

Musk wants to colonise Mars, but is in hot competition with Bezos.

On Twitter, the Tesla boss shared details of Blue Origin’s announcement and wrote: ‘Oh stop teasing, Jeff.’

It’s not clear whether the pair are friendly rivals, or sworn enemies, but they have locked horns many times including a recent incident where Musk savaged Bezos on Twitter.

The pair clashed over Bezos’ plans to send a ‘constellation’ of satellites into orbit (Credit: Getty, @elonmusk/ Twitter)
Jeff Bezos has revealed his company’s planned lunar lander (BlueOrigin.com)

Yesterday, Bezos has revealed the moon lander that his private space company plans to send up to the lunar surface.

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Bezos said his space company, Blue Origin, will land a robotic ship the size of a small house, capable of carrying four rovers and using a newly designed rocket engine and souped-up rockets.

It would be followed by a version that could bring people to the moon along the same timeframe as NASA’s proposed 2024 return.

Bezos, who was dwarfed by his mock-up of the ‘Blue Moon’ vehicle at his presentation in the US yesterday said: ‘This is an incredible vehicle and it’s going to the moon.’

Blue Origin is joining a resurgence in interest in travelling to the moon, fifty years after humans first set foot up there.

‘It’s time to go back to the moon. This time to stay,’ Bezos said.

The announcement for the usually secretive space company came with all the glitz of an Apple product launch in a darkened convention ballroom bedazzled with shimmering stars on its walls.

Astronauts and other space luminaries sat in the audience under blue-tinted lighting before Bezos unveiled the boxy ship with four long and spindly landing legs.

The Blue Moon lander will be heading up to the lunar surface…at some point (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post, walked off the stage without providing details, including launch dates, customers and the plan for humans on his rockets.

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Blue Origin is a private company, but it’s going up against nation states that also have dreams of colonising the moon.

Blue Origin says its lander can carry up to four astronauts (BlueOrigin.com)

Zhang Kejian from the China National Space Administration (CSNA) told state media service Xinhua that in ‘about 10 years’ the country will have a research station on the moon’s south pole. He has also stated that China plans to launch its first probe to explore Mars in 2020.

The details are still fairly sketchy, but apparently China’s base will be assembled in parts. The first of these components will be put into orbit around the moon aboard one of China’s Long March-5B rockets in the first half of 2020.

Nasa Administrator Jim Bridenstine talks to employees about going back to the moon back in March 2019 (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

Meanwhile, Nasa’s administrator Jim Bridenstine has confirmed the space agency is also on track to head back to the moon.

He told employees that Nasa now has budget to go back to the moon itself for the first time since the Apollo missions.

‘For the first time in over 10 years, we have money in this budget for a return to the Moon with humans,’ Bridenstine said.

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SPACE WARS: Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are mocking each other’s visions to conquer Mars and …

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk spent Thursday exchanging barbs about their respective plans to conquer space. At an event in Washington, D.C., Bezos …

It’s the intergalactic battle of the billionaires that’s taking place right here on Earth. Yes, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are exchanging barbs again about their respective plans to conquer space.

The two have a history of clashes over their space race ambitions, and their rivalry came to the fore again on Thursday as Bezos drew back the curtains on his vision to put people on the moon.

Business Insider’s Dave Mosher was in the room as Bezos revealed a giant lunar-landing vehicle created by his rocket company Blue Origin. Designed to deliver payloads to the moon’s surface, the “Blue Moon” would aim to establish a “sustained human presence” on the moon.

“It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay,” Bezos said.

Jeff Bezos shows off Blue Origin’s lunar lander concept, called Blue Moon, in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2019.
Dave Mosher/Business Insider

During the Washington DC event, Bezos couldn’t resist an indirect swipe at Musk’s plans to colonize Mars through his company, SpaceX. According to Bloomberg, one of Bezos’ slides included a reference to Musk’s red planet mission, suggesting that the moon is the more realistic ambition.

“Round-trip on the order of years,” one slide reportedly read, with an image of Mars. “No real-time communication.”

Read more: Elon Musk just trolled Jeff Bezos on Twitter, and it could reignite a years-old feud between the billionaires

Musk, as is his tradition, responded on Twitter.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO posted three times about Bezos’ presentation, starting out with an open-minded tone. “Competition is good. Results in a better outcome for all,” he said, before turning a little more puerile.

“Putting the word “Blue” on a ball is questionable branding,” he added, in a nod to “blue balls,” a slang term for male sexual frustration.

He later wrote, “Oh stop teasing, Jeff 😉,” with a screenshot of a New York Times article with Bezos pictured in front of his lunar-landing vehicle.

It’s not the first time this year that Musk has called out Bezos on Twitter. He branded the Amazon CEO a copy cat over his plan to launch thousands of satellites that would deliver high-speed internet to remote parts of the world. SpaceX has been working on a similar project.

But it’s not always so testy between the billionaires — the two have also exchanged pleasantries before. Bezos wished SpaceX the “best of luck” with the Falcon Heavy launch in February last year. Musk thanked him with a kissing emoji, before Bezos responded with “woohoo” and three rocket emojis.

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