In 2021, Bezos unsuccessfully sued NASA over the agency’s decision to grant the first contract to SpaceX, but today’s news should put him in a better head space. Blue Origin offered a price tag of $5.99 billion, and Bezos offered to spend $2 billion from his own pockets, but NASA ultimately chose SpaceX, much to the chagrin of the Amazon billionaire.


At today’s presser, John Couluris, HLS program manager at Blue Origin, said the company will contribute “more than 50%” to Blue Moon, as the project to go to the Moon has been “part of our core beliefs for quite some time,” he said. Accordingly, the total cost of the lander is north of $6.8 billion. The company wants to ensure consistent access to the Moon, Couluris said, and Blue Origin intends to make the crewed lander available to both NASA and commercial partners. A series of pathfinder tests, including an uncrewed lunar landing with Blue Moon, will precede the Artemis 5 mission, according to Couluris. The plan, he said, is to provide NASA with a single reusable lander, which will operate in lunar orbit for “multiple years” across “multiple missions.”

Couluris said the 52-foot-tall (16-meter) Blue Moon will come in two configurations, one for landing humans onto the lunar surface and the other for landing cargo and equipment. It’ll be capable of delivering 30 metric tons in a reusable configuration and 30 metric tons in a one-way configuration. Design specifications require the lander to support 30-day missions to the Moon, but Free said the first several Artemis missions will last only for about a week each. Having two lunar landers will eventually enable NASA to land humans on the Moon yearly, Free added.


Blue Origin’s upcoming New Glenn rocket, with its 23-foot-wide (7-meter) fairing, will deliver Blue Moon to low Earth orbit, from where the vehicle will travel to the upcoming lunar Gateway space station parked in a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO). Once in lunar orbit, Blue Moon will stay there, where it will be periodically refueled by a Lockheed Martin-built space tug. NASA’s Space Launch System megarocket will launch the crewed Orion capsule to Gateway, from where the astronauts will transfer to Blue Moon. Draper will take care of the vehicle’s navigation systems, Astrobotic will provide cargo-related capabilities, and Boeing will develop Blue Moon’s docking system, Couluris said.

Walking reporters through the artistic rendering of Blue Moon, Couluris described the high gain antennas up top, the vehicle’s large liquid hydrogen tank, and thermal radiators, all of which are perched atop the liquid oxygen tank. The crew module features two large windows, a docking adapter (for Gateway), and an airlock with immediate surface access.


This is admittedly a lot to digest, but the Artemis program is continuing to take shape—and in some very exciting ways. Two human landing systems, a lunar space station, and orbiting fuel depots! Yes, please.

Want to know more about humanity’s next giant leap in space? Check out our full coverage of NASA’s Artemis Moon program, the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, the recently concluded Artemis 1 mission around the Moon, the four-person Artemis 2 crew, NASA and Axiom’s Artemis Moon suit, and the upcoming lunar Gateway space station. And for more spaceflight in your life, follow us on Twitter and bookmark Gizmodo’s dedicated Spaceflight page.