Specifically, Blue Origin constructed the lander itself (i. e. , the descent element) while Lockheed took care of the ascent element which will shuttle astronauts from the lunar surface back into orbit, Northrop handled the transfer element which connects Blue Moon to the Orion vehicle which will fly them out from the Earth and Draper developed the system avionics. “Testing this engineering mockup for crew interaction is a step toward making this historic mission real,” said Brent Sherwood, Blue Origin’s vice president of Advanced Development Programs, in a statement. “The learning we get from full-scale mockups can’t be done any other way.
The three firms have until February 2021 to build the landers and complete a mockup mission before NASA starts thinning the competitors. “We are going to build a road to space,” Bezos said during a press event unveiling the Blue Moon in May. “And then amazing things will happen.
The first was partially destroyed during a test flight in 2015. (The crew capsule was unharmed; the rocket stage, not so much. ) However, the second iteration made five successful flights between 2015 and 2016 while the third has made six successful flights since 2017, ferrying multiple scientific experimental payloads into low orbit.