The tycoon Jeff Bezos is now saying, with regards to his 20 year old firm, Blue Origin, that although he has been quiety about hte rockets and capsules that he will send a mission to the moon by 2024. Bezos has been building this business and pumping about $1 billion each year but is not showing too many details of the craft and especially the rocket motors. Vice President Mike Pence has been pushing NASA to put US astronauts on the surface of the moon within 5 years and there now seems to be a firm timeline that NASA and the private sector are focused on.
The Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities (ACSC) program is now int the NASA 2020 budget as a request. There are several private firms, including SpaceX founded by Elon Musk that are now involved in a mini Space Race, like the US and Soviets of the 1960s and 70s. NASA Is working on its own project but would consider working with private firms to put a human back on the moon.
Mr Bezos has a firm called “Blue Moon” and will be sending cargo packages to the lunar surface to start building infrastructure for a lunar base. There will be robots sent to the surface to drive the projects – humans will go later. It is unclear just how much will be done with NASA and how much will be done by Mr Bezos and his new firm. The goal is to get to the southern part of the moon where there is believed to be frozen water.