Blue Origin lunar mission in 2023 and Lockheed pitches NASA a Lunar Lander Concept

Lockheed Martin revealed a giant crewed lunar lander concept and showed how the reusable lander aligns with NASA’s lunar Gateway and future Mars missions. A separate lunar lander is needed because the Orion capsule that would sit on an SLS (Space Launch System) rocket cannot land on the moon. Lockheed wants tens of billions to possibly get the SLS and Orion flying and then tens of billions for $150 billion for the lunar gateway in orbit around the moon and then more billions for lunar lander.

The lander would accommodate a crew of four and 2,000 lbs. of cargo payload on the surface for up to two weeks before returning to the Gateway without refueling on the surface.

It would have dry weight of about 24 tons and a fueled weight of 60+ tons.

The manned Orion capsule is currently tracking to about $20 billion in cost. This Lockheed proposed lunar lander is much bigger than Orion and has new liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propulsion. It looks to me like it would easily rack up $40 billion in cost based on the Lockheed cost track record.

It will use liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Liquid LOX/LH2 provides the performance required for a single stage lunar lander operating from the Gateway orbit, where the round trip ∆V is in excess of 5000 m/s. Sustainability requires full reusability, and while it is possible to have a fully reusable two-stage system, the additional cost and complexity of a two-stage system is significant. It is conceivable that a single stage LOX/methane lander could be developed.

It is conceivable that a single stage LOX/methane lander could be developed, but the mass fraction required implies very lightweight systems, which further imply an increase in technology, cost/risk, and potentially a loss of reliability with respect to margins, factors of safety and/or redundancy.

It would be vastly more economical to convert a SpaceX Falcon Heavy to have a larger second stage and to convert a SpaceX Dragon capsule for lunar landing.

SpaceX would have to add three things.

1. A lunar transit vehicle (for TLI) built around the Dragon. Trans-lunar injection is the trip from high earth orbit to cis-lunar space (moon orbit).

2. Falcon Heavy needs a larger second stage to bring all that equipment from LEO to a higher earth orbit.

3. Large external fuel trunk for Dragon.

A SpaceX BFR and BFS could easily handle lunar landing missions.

Blue Origin 2023 moon landing mission?

Blue Origin and OHB Group are going to cooperate to bid for a lunar lander program.

It seems that Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin want to (mostly?) self-fund a future Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface – Blue Origin’s lunar lander capable of bringing several metric tons of cargo to the Moon. Bezos has also expressed ambitions to orchestrate a moon landing by 2023 and to eventually establish a lunar colony.

33 thoughts on “Blue Origin lunar mission in 2023 and Lockheed pitches NASA a Lunar Lander Concept”

  1. What happened to Altair, from the old Constellation program? Didn’t that have a large capacity? Why couldn’t that be dusted off?

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  2. What happened to Altair from the old Constellation program? Didn’t that have a large capacity? Why couldn’t that be dusted off?

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  3. I think they are leaning that way. Which may be more difficult all of a sudden, given there a rumors of cancellation of SLS Block 1B and Block 2: twitter dot com/DJSnM/status/1048001681600831488?s=19 Sounds like the upper echelons are having second thoughts? (one can only hope)

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  4. I think they are leaning that way.Which may be more difficult all of a sudden given there a rumors of cancellation of SLS Block 1B and Block 2: twitter dot com/DJSnM/status/1048001681600831488?s=19Sounds like the upper echelons are having second thoughts? (one can only hope)

    Reply
  5. This isn’t a pork-fest until I see PPT pictures of this lunar lander being launched on SLS. Then it is an official pork-fest.

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  6. This isn’t a pork-fest until I see PPT pictures of this lunar lander being launched on SLS.Then it is an official pork-fest.

    Reply
  7. Fully refueled BFR could take 10-15 tons (depends on the slideshow, tending slightly downwards of late) of cargo to the lunar surface and return. Not much compared with the potential payload of that rocket, but enough for a short manned mission with 2-3 crew members, maybe a couple more. Nevertheless, it would make a lot of sense to have a tanker in lunar orbit or an expendable tanker on the lunar surface, to increase the payload to the surface and the return mass of the manned missions. And even more to have partial fuel production on the lunar surface. Up to the point this could be one of the first things they do after the first landings.

    Reply
  8. Fully refueled BFR could take 10-15 tons (depends on the slideshow tending slightly downwards of late) of cargo to the lunar surface and return.Not much compared with the potential payload of that rocket but enough for a short manned mission with 2-3 crew members maybe a couple more.Nevertheless it would make a lot of sense to have a tanker in lunar orbit or an expendable tanker on the lunar surface to increase the payload to the surface and the return mass of the manned missions. And even more to have partial fuel production on the lunar surface. Up to the point this could be one of the first things they do after the first landings.

    Reply
  9. If NASA actually wants a “Lunar Gateway” station, all they have to do is cut a couple of checks, and SpaceX and Bigelow will team up on putting one in Lunar orbit next year.

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  10. If NASA actually wants a Lunar Gateway”” station”” all they have to do is cut a couple of checks”” and SpaceX and Bigelow will team up on putting one in Lunar orbit next year.”””

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  11. I think they are leaning that way.

    Which may be more difficult all of a sudden, given there a rumors of cancellation of SLS Block 1B and Block 2: twitter dot com/DJSnM/status/1048001681600831488?s=19

    Sounds like the upper echelons are having second thoughts? (one can only hope)

    Reply
  12. NASA could be using that SLS $$$ to standardize automated fuel connections & fuel transfer. Maybe do some 1/3rd scale demonstrations at the ISS.

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  13. NASA could be using that SLS $$$ to standardize automated fuel connections & fuel transfer. Maybe do some 1/3rd scale demonstrations at the ISS.

    Reply
  14. Fully refueled BFR could take 10-15 tons (depends on the slideshow, tending slightly downwards of late) of cargo to the lunar surface and return.

    Not much compared with the potential payload of that rocket, but enough for a short manned mission with 2-3 crew members, maybe a couple more.

    Nevertheless, it would make a lot of sense to have a tanker in lunar orbit or an expendable tanker on the lunar surface, to increase the payload to the surface and the return mass of the manned missions. And even more to have partial fuel production on the lunar surface. Up to the point this could be one of the first things they do after the first landings.

    Reply
  15. If they docked a refueling depot at the lunar getaway (or what its name) then BFR could land directly on the moon (100 tone instead of 1 or 2 tones). BFR could refuel at the getaway depot before heading back to earth.

    Reply
  16. If they docked a refueling depot at the lunar getaway (or what its name) then BFR could land directly on the moon (100 tone instead of 1 or 2 tones). BFR could refuel at the getaway depot before heading back to earth.

    Reply
  17. I’m all for Blue Origin, and all against Lockheed. They just want to piss away more tax payer dollars, Blue Origin wants to innovate and push humanity out in the solar system and explore.

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  18. I’m all for Blue Origin and all against Lockheed. They just want to piss away more tax payer dollars Blue Origin wants to innovate and push humanity out in the solar system and explore.

    Reply
  19. Bezos has also expressed ambitions to orchestrate a moon landing by 2023 and to eventually establish a lunar colony.” Wow, a year after they finish Vogtle unit 4! Not gonna happen, but their BE-4 engine is pretty b1tchin’. One billionaire trying to copy another. All that money and no originality. Like Gates giving his away to TerraPower (a ‘company’ I hope the best for).

    Reply
  20. Bezos has also expressed ambitions to orchestrate a moon landing by 2023 and to eventually establish a lunar colony.””Wow”” a year after they finish Vogtle unit 4!Not gonna happen”” but their BE-4 engine is pretty b1tchin’.One billionaire trying to copy another. All that money and no originality. Like Gates giving his away to TerraPower (a ‘company’ I hope the best for).”””

    Reply
  21. I root for SpaceX just for the chance of seeing them spoil the pork-fest. Something that can happen if they end up landing people on the Moon shortly (1 year or two) after #DearMoon launches in 2023, for added theatrical effect.

    Reply
  22. I root for SpaceX just for the chance of seeing them spoil the pork-fest. Something that can happen if they end up landing people on the Moon shortly (1 year or two) after #DearMoon launches in 2023 for added theatrical effect.

    Reply
  23. The proposed Blue Moon is an Unmanned Lander, whereas Lockheed’s lander is specifically designed for up to four astronauts but depends on launching from LOP-G ( a shorter flight than a cargo delivery from Earth.

    Reply
  24. The proposed Blue Moon is an Unmanned Lander whereas Lockheed’s lander is specifically designed for up to four astronauts but depends on launching from LOP-G ( a shorter flight than a cargo delivery from Earth.

    Reply
  25. If they docked a refueling depot at the lunar getaway (or what its name) then BFR could land directly on the moon (100 tone instead of 1 or 2 tones). BFR could refuel at the getaway depot before heading back to earth.

    Reply
  26. I’m all for Blue Origin, and all against Lockheed. They just want to piss away more tax payer dollars, Blue Origin wants to innovate and push humanity out in the solar system and explore.

    Reply
  27. “Bezos has also expressed ambitions to orchestrate a moon landing by 2023 and to eventually establish a lunar colony.”

    Wow, a year after they finish Vogtle unit 4!

    Not gonna happen, but their BE-4 engine is pretty b1tchin’.

    One billionaire trying to copy another. All that money and no originality. Like Gates giving his away to TerraPower (a ‘company’ I hope the best for).

    Reply
  28. I root for SpaceX just for the chance of seeing them spoil the pork-fest.

    Something that can happen if they end up landing people on the Moon shortly (1 year or two) after #DearMoon launches in 2023, for added theatrical effect.

    Reply
  29. The proposed Blue Moon is an Unmanned Lander, whereas Lockheed’s lander is specifically designed for up to four astronauts but depends on launching from LOP-G ( a shorter flight than a cargo delivery from Earth.

    Reply

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