Bezos' space company designing large lunar lander

NASA, Israel Space Agency Sign Agreement for Commercial Lunar Cooperation

NASA, Israel Space Agency Sign Agreement for Commercial Lunar Cooperation

It would however need to be refueled between missions, potentially using water from the Moon's surface.

Apollo's lander - used nearly 50 years ago - could only carry two astronauts and keep them there for a couple of days.

An artist's conception shows Blue Origin's Blue Moon lander on the lunar surface.

The spacecraft can fly a crew of four to the moon's orbit and then send them down to the surface in a lander.

NASA wanted innovative ideas for a return trip to the Moon and this is Lockheed's best attempt so far.

"This lander could be used to establish a surface base, deliver scientific or commercial cargo, and conduct extraordinary exploration of the Moon", Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin Space, said in a statement.

"This is a concept that takes full advantage of both the Gateway and existing technologies to create a versatile, powerful lander that can be built quickly and affordably".

The facility would be constructed at Space Florida's Exploration Park to provide support services for the $205 million, 750,000-square-foot New Glenn rocket manufacturing factory that Blue Origin already has built in Florida.

Previous moon missions have required the astronauts to crash back down to Earth - and the ships end up being scrapped.

The VP also described the mighty Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft that will be used to carry US astronauts on epic missions over the coming years. The lunar lander is a single stage and a fully reusable system that incorporates the flight-proven technologies and systems found in NASA's Orion spacecraft.

During his visit, Bridenstine stated that by year 2025 NASA would establish a space station around the moon and the project would be shared by many countries.

Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and other schools are using the International Space Station to test space communications they say could have major implications for future space missions.

NASA and Roscosmos hope the space station's first modules would be completed by 2026 - the 250th anniversary of the United States.

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