Blue Origin, a project described by the US billionaire as “the most important work I'm doing” and a rival to Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, signed a letter of intent with German aerospace companies OHB Space Systems and Security and MT Aerospace at the 69th annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Germany Tuesday, Vice News reported.
Neither the letter nor OHB’s press release specified what kind of cargo would be transported to the moon, but it is likely to include infrastructure for possible private businesses on Earth’s natural satellite.
We’re excited to be a part of an international collaboration to build a sustained presence on the moon. #BlueMoon and #NewGlenn will help us get back to the moon, and this time to stay. https://t.co/U6uSs5g8F4 https://t.co/ry2dYcmGND— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) 1 октября 2018 г.
The announcement came on the same day IAC declared the launch of the “Moon Race” – a competition between Blue Origin, Space X, Airbus Air and other space agencies to develop the technology that would allow private companies around the world to take their operations to the moon.
According to the statement, the application process for the IAC competition will begin in early 2019 and participants will choose one of four categories for their potential technological breakthrough, with clear final goals: manufacturing — to develop the tools and means for using lunar resources; energy — to develop a technology that would enable humans to survive the lunar night; resources — to “fill the first bottle of moon water”; and biology — to sustain the first lunar greenhouse.
Blue Origin in its press release said that its goal as part of IAC’s competition is to “land large payloads on the moon that can access and utilize the resources found there.”
“To do this we need reusable access to the lunar surface and its resources. We’re in the conceptual design phase of a large lunar lander that will provide that access, called Blue Moon,” the press release said.
Last month, Blue Origin ‘s rival in the space race, SpaceX, announced updates to its Big Falcon Rocket project and presented one of the first passengers of that rocket’s planned first flight to the moon: Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa.