US space agency NASA announced Friday that it has selected Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin to construct "human landing system" that will send astronauts to and from the surface of the moon, on a contract valued at about $3.4 billion.
"Blue Origin will design, develop, test, and verify its Blue Moon lander to meet NASA’s human landing system requirements for recurring astronaut expeditions to the lunar surface, including docking with Gateway, a space station where crew transfer in lunar orbit," NASA said in a statement.
"In addition to design and development work, the contract includes one uncrewed demonstration mission to the lunar surface before a crewed demo on the Artemis V mission in 2029," it added.
“Today we are excited to announce Blue Origin will build a human landing system as NASA’s second provider to deliver Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“We are in a golden age of human spaceflight, which is made possible by NASA’s commercial and international partnerships. Together, we are making an investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first astronauts on Mars," Nelson added.
Jeff Bezos said in a Twitter post that he was "honored to be on this journey" with NASA to "land astronauts on the Moon — this time to stay".
"Together, we’ll be solving the boil-off problem and making LOX-LH2 a storable propellant combination, pushing forward the state of the art for all deep space missions," he added.
NASA previously contracted Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the Artemis III mission in April 2021, after which Bezos' Blue Origin filed a lawsuit that aims to prevent a rival company from exclusive rights to land astronauts on the moon.