Jeff Bezos unveils new plans for Blue Origin spaceflight
By Jackie Wattles, CNN Business
Updated 11:46 p.m. ET, May 9, 2019
"Big things start small."
Those are the words Bezos used to end his presentation.
To tie it all together, Bezos says space needs much more infrastructure if we're going to live out there.
Blue Moon is about expanding that infrastructure, and getting us to a point where thousands of entrepreneurs can build their own space businesses.
It's called BE-7, and its designed to make all the complicated maneuvers that it takes to safely land on the lunar surface.
Bezos said they've been working on the design for three years and could test fire the engine for the first time this summer.
Bezos' said developing Blue's New Shepard vehicle answered a lot of questions about how to safely land on the moon. He described the right engine as the final problem.
Blue Moon, the name of Blue's lunar lander, already has about six customers, Bezos announced. They include academic institutions.
"It's time to go back to the moon, this time to stay," Bezos said.
A towering model of Blue Origin's lunar lander is on stage.
This is a craft designed to land on and bounce back off of the moon's surface.
“This is an incredible vehicle and it’s going to the moon,” says Bezos.
“The price of admission to do interesting things in space right now is just too high because there’s no infrastructure," Bezos said.
He's got a plan to fix that, naturally.
Rockets aren't on time very often. Delays getting things to orbit is an "under-appreciated" problem in the industry.
"It really snarls things up and costs the payload customers a lot of money," Bezos said.
He added that Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket is designed to change all that. And it was designed to be reusable because it can bring down launch prices.
The latter point is something Elon Musk's SpaceX has harped on for a long time – and his company has already been sending its reusable rockets to space and back for years.
Like every other rocket builder currently operating, SpaceX is also known to delay its launches for various reasons, like weather or hardware issues.
Blue Origin is well underway developing on New Glenn, which is expected to launch for the first time in 2021.
Bezos is talking about "O'Neill colonies" -- an idea proposed decades ago by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill.
He showed pictures of massive spaceborne structures, hundreds of times larger than the International Space Station, that could contain self-sustaining habitats. With greenery growing, animals of all types and people living and working inside.
All the energy conservation in the world won't prevent a crisis, Bezos said.
Eventually we'll reach a point where humans would have to ration.
"That’s the path that we would be on," he said. "It would lead for the first time to where your children and grandchildren have worse lives than you. That's a bad path."
"If that doesn't inspire you, you are at the wrong event," Jeff Bezos says as he takes the stage right after footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing is shown.
SpaceFlight Now reporter Stephen Clark shared this shot on Twitter: