An illustration of Blue Moon, the lunar lander Blue Origin is planning. A larger version of this could be the model for the new Human Landing System. (Credit: Blue Origin)
Some of the biggest names in the aerospace industry are teaming up with Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos to create the Human Landing System (HLS), which will bring humans back to the lunar surface by 2024 as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
The announcement at the International Astronautical congress named Blue Origin as the main contractor on the project. Blue Origin will focus on system engineering, safety, and working on the Descent Element, which will carry astronauts down to the moon and will be based on other Blue Origin spacecraft.
Aviation and aerospace company Lockheed Martin will lead crewed flight operations and training, as well as develop the reusable Ascent Element for the lander. Draper, which is a not-for-profit research and development organization, will work on descent guidance and flight avionics. Northrop Grumman, an aviation company responsible the Pegasus rocket, will work on the technology that will bring the landing system down to the Moon.
“We guided Apollo to the moon and back nearly 50 years ago,” said Kaigham J. Gabriel, the President and CEO of Draper, in a press release. “We’re ready to do it again with the Blue Origin team for Artemis.”
In May, Bezos announced the concept for Blue Origin’s soft lander, Blue Moon. That project utilizes a larger version of the lander, which can now be used as a model for the HLS.
This partnership is the latest addition to the Artemis program, in which many private aerospace companies have already partnered with NASA to develop new technologies that will help humans establish a presence on the moon. Creating a reusable and reliable HLS will be key to getting humans to the lunar surface and back to Gateway, a proposed space station that orbits the moon.