Blue Origin, Partners Pitch To Build NASA Artemis Moon Lander

Agency last year picked SpaceX to provide a lander for first missions to the lunar surface.

Artist’s rendering of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lander. [Courtesy: Blue Origin]

Blue Origin said it has joined Lockheed Martin and Boeing in a proposal to build a lunar landing vehicle for NASA’s Artemis program to transport people to the moon.

The space company founded by Jeff Bezos is leading the proposal, which is its second attempt at winning a NASA contract to build a lander. Last year Blue Origin lost out to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which the agency chose to run the first Artemis moon landings during the next several years. The agency later began a new competition for a second lander  to back up the SpaceX vehicle.

“The National Team has submitted its proposal for NASA’s SLD program to help the US establish a sustained lunar presence,” Blue Origin said in a tweet announcing its entry.

Tuesday was the deadline for proposals and NASA is expected to name a winner in June. Blue Origin's team also named the engineering company Draper, and robotics companies Astrobotic and Honeybee Robotics as partners in the latest proposal. Blue Origin acquired Honeybee earlier this year.

The NASA program’s first mission, Artemis I, is an uncrewed test flight around the moon that launched last month after numerous delays. Artemis II is to be the program’s first crewed mission, flying astronauts around the moon and returning them to Earth without landing on the surface.

The planned mission to land people on the moon has also experienced snags and earlier this year was pushed back to sometime in 2026, following a number of problems including delays in developing spacesuits. The mission had previously been rescheduled from 2024 to 2025.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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