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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‘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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LOL What?! Elon Musk Prefers To Call Bezos’ Lunar Lander “Blue Balls”

Major companies including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will play big roles in mankind’s hopes of becoming a multi-planetary …

The privatization of the space exploration sector is going to be a monumental step towards bringing down the costs. Major companies including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will play big roles in mankind’s hopes of becoming a multi-planetary species. For something as serious as it sounds, their bosses are rather juvenile when it comes to banter

Elon Musk and the SEC once again work out what he can and can't tweet

Elon Musk, the main man at Tesla, is no stranger to Twitter controversy. At one point, his position was in jeopardy because of unnecessary (and eventually, incorrect) tweets around their business. He was spared with just a heavy fine and a bunch of warnings. Over time, his non-work related posts ranged from sharing inappropriate jokes to even conversing with PewDiePie over memes. While those were arguably hilarious, that’s not something you’d expect from the CEO of multiple tech companies.

Adding to this repertoire, Elon Musk poked fun at Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin is a major competitor of SpaceX, and is expecting to execute its own lunar landing missions later this year. Their craft will be called “Blue Moon” whose primary objective is to make cargo deliveries to the moon. But Musk had a different idea.

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

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2019

In an image captioned “Oh stop teasing, Jeff,” he shared a screenshot of a piece from The New York Times, where the image had an edited image of the rival lander with the words “Blue Balls.” Why? Because, why not? In fact, this isn’t even the first time he’s tried to troll his rivals, and probably won’t be the last either.

Blue Moon (Image: Blue Origin)

Having said that, The Blue Origin Blue Moon mission is expected to take place in 2024. Unveiled on May 9 at the Washington Convention Centre, it specialises in carrying large payloads to the moon, but can also be modified to carry humans with an additional attachable, pressurized ascent vehicle. Bezos plans on shifting industries away from the Earth one day “to save the Earth” which is our “best planet.”

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Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk Flex Toward Final Frontier in Billionaire Space Race

In 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX shot a Tesla roadster into space with a dummy astronaut named Starman behind the wheel. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, …

In 2018, Elon Musk’s SpaceX shot a Tesla roadster into space with a dummy astronaut named Starman behind the wheel.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, “Hold my beer.”

On Thursday, he unveiled his Blue Origin space company’s lunar lander, which could eventually land humans on the surface of the moon.

In showing off his moon-destinated vehicle, the stage is set for two of the wealthiest tech gurus in the world to compete with each other out of the world.

I love the new phenomenon of mega-billionaires racing into space. #capitalism

— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) May 10, 2019

Blue Origin Sets Ambitious Goal

Bezos discussed his Blue Origin’s mission during a special presentation. He told those who’d gathered that there was no better place to begin manufacturing in space than the moon due to its lower gravity than the Earth.

“We were given a gift — this nearby body called the moon.”

He added, according to CNBC, that getting resources from the moon “takes 24 times less energy to get it off the surface compared to the Earth and that is a huge lever.”

Since its creation, Blue Origin’s execs have kept the details of what’s it has been working on close to the vest. According to CNBC, Blue Origin has been working on multiple space systems, including rockets. Bezos invests more than $1 billion in the company each year, through sales of his Amazon shares, the business news outlet reported.

For the last 19 years Jeff Bezos has bankrolled his space company, Blue Origin, almost entirely out of pocket and has made his goal of colonizing the moon known.

Today, he unveiled a mock-up of Blue Origin’s lunar lander. https://t.co/jc06Bn3Iyg

— WIRED (@WIRED) May 9, 2019

As reported by The Verge, the Blue Moon lander will be able to navigate space autonomously. The lander is capable of carrying up to four large rovers similar to those NASA landed on Mars. At the same time, the capsule can take off from the lander and eventually carry people away from the surface of the Moon, according to The Verge.

Amazon Creation Was To Fund Putting People On The Moon

Back in 2016, Bezos acknowledged that his high school girlfriend had said Amazon exists “solely to create money for Blue Origin.”

Bezos jokingly responded:

“I can neither confirm nor deny that.”

One thing is for sure and that’s his love of space. Blue Origin has been around for almost 20 years ago. Founded in 2000, GeekWire reported that Bezos created it to pursue his childhood dream of going into outer space.

One Way Ticket To The Moon, Space

Bezos has said that his long-term vision is to have millions of people living and working in space, according to Space.com.

Bezos said Thursday:

“It’s time to go back to the moon and this time stay.”

Last year, Blue Origin stirred observers by saying it would begin taking reservations for the ride.

The goal is to begin landing people on the moon by 2024, which is the deadline year the Trump administration has set for NASA to return astronauts to the moon.

I wonder if he plans to still invite President Trump to be the first rider!

Finally trashed by @realDonaldTrump. Will still reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket. #sendDonaldtospacehttps://t.co/9OypFoxZk3

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 7, 2015

Those who sign up will likely have to fork over a significant amount of money for the inaugural ride.

Musk’s Latest Space Effort Blows Up In His Face

The only thing worse for Musk than a Tesla car exploding for no reason is a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule exploding to smithereens during a high-stakes test. That’s exactly what happened earlier this month.

SpaceX had partnered with NASA on the project. With the explosion, CCN questioned how long the will allow Musk to continue playing with his space toys before they shut him down.

Referring to another Bezos’ space-related project called Project Kuiper, Musk last month called him a copycat.

Musk tweeted: “Jeff Bezos copy 🐈.” Musk made sure to tag Bezos on his catty smack-down.

.@JeffBezos copy 🐈

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2019

Elon Musk pokes fun at Jeff Bezos’ new moon lander spacecraft with lewd tweet

Elon Musk pokes fun at Jeff Bezos’ new moon lander spacecraft with lewd tweet … Elon Musk has poked fun, in a rather crude way, at Jeff Bezos’ new …

Elon Musk has poked fun, in a rather crude way, at Jeff Bezos’ new spacecraft.

On Thursday, Bezos’ space company Blue Origin unveiled its first lunar lander called “Blue Moon.”

Musk, who is the founder of rival space firm SpaceX, tweeted an altered picture of Blue Moon.

Instead of reading “Blue Moon” on the side of the spacecraft, the image in the tweet reads “Blue Balls.”

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