Blue Origin, OHB & MT Aerospace Sign Letter of Intent to Cooperate on Lunar Missions

Blue Moon lander (Credit: Blue Origin)

BREMEN, Germany, October 2, 2018 (OHB PR) — The OHB Group today signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for future cooperation with the U.S. aerospace company Blue Origin. The document was signed by Dr. Lutz Bertling and Kurt Melching, members of the Management Board of OHB SE, Hans J. Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace and Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, during a bilateral meeting at the International Space Congress IAC in Bremen.

The aim is to explore the extent to which OHB, MT Aerospace and Blue Origin can work together across the Atlantic. The companies have partnered on 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. The companies will collaborate on a payload on board Blue Origin’s reusable orbital rocket New Glenn. The use of these systems and possible cooperation will be the subject of in-depth discussions in the transatlantic dialogue.

“We are delighted to have gained Blue Origin as a dialogue partner who has established itself over the past few years as one of the leading companies in the aerospace industry,” says Lutz Bertling. “We are convinced that the mixture of the respective competencies will quickly lead to concrete approaches for further cooperation”.

  • Robert G. Oler

    at some point when we get a real change in space policy, US policy is going to concentrate on two things

    First making the ISS commercialized and Second is a return to the moon,
    using the assets of private enterprise instead of government

    what is special about that notion is that if private enterprise creates
    assets that are used…then PE can use the excess capability to do
    private ie profit making things

    Jeff Bezos grasp this.

  • Michael Halpern

    ISS commercialization makes no sense, before legalities, there’s the fact that its an international organization as well as a station too much red tape

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    A Bigelow LEO spacestation can be commercialised.

    A lunar spacestation can charge docking fees. also fees for use of arms to transfer cargo, attach modules to landers and refuel landers. The refuelling fuel tanks do not have to belong to NASA an oil company for instance could pay for them to be located at the spacestation.

    British motorway service stations could be an example of corporate concessions at a government owned establishment.

  • Robert G. Oler

    its the only path to success. NONE not a single group Axiom, Bigelow anyone has a service that can survive without federal assistance, federal anchoring…

    So to get that service NASA needs to contract to them to privately resupply/expand/services on the station and it can do it either inside the international agreement (such as a port city) or legally separate from it

    Its time to start winding down the Russian participation in the project as well, the point is to acquire the “parts” on the station owned by private industry…as a service (much like commercial crew/cargo) and then allow the excess part of that to be sold

    the same “key” has to be opened on a lunar station or better yet a base

  • Robert G. Oler

    no oil company would do that. no company really would do that

    ith as to be the reverse way…ie NASA builds the fort…but the resupply of it and parts of the fort are “leased” and private industry can than lease the excess to others

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    I am not convinced. Oil companies own fuel storage tanks all over the world. Who owns the tanks and fuel trucks at airports?

  • Michael Halpern

    No it isn’t the only path os transition to truly commercial stations

  • Robert G. Oler

    what is another one?

  • Robert G. Oler

    there are markets for petroleum products at all those places

  • Michael Halpern

    Transition to commercial stations when they are ready, the ISS as an international organization has enough red tape to sink the healthiest company not to mention its probably illegal to sell any of the modules other than BEAM

  • Robert G. Oler

    selling them would be a bad idea…they are the infrastructure for the private docks at the port.

    there is not going to be a single commercial station without NASA money

  • Michael Halpern

    At least not without them as a customer, sure, nasa development money comes with a lot of strings attached.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I think the real change in space policy will come from the private sector. Just by sheer inertia their policy will become the executed but unstated policy. The US government these days is too schizophrenic. Each new administration will attempt to undo the policy of the previous. We’re stuck in that loop for the foreseeable future. Space X, Blue Origin, and ULA will be setting long term goals to the extent they can by the nature of the hardware that they build. The only functional long term government policy will come from whatever can be kept alive and coherent in the Congress. If I were a policy player in the space program, I’d run from the office of the president and do what I could in the Congress, and keep as much in house in the form of working hardware as I could.

  • Robert G. Oler

    the problem is that no corporation has enough money to do that. Not even Blue. AND worse the legal structure is missing with no sovereign.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    That’s true, but a private hardware based policy also pins down the government. Eventually there will be enough hardware for a new president to declare a policy and have it completed and in place in time for the next administration. At which point it’s infrastructure. Each administration can cancel the policy of the previous admin because there’s either no hardware or almost no hardware. Bill Clinton’s space station policy is still in effect because Regan and Bush I handed his admin a lot of engineering and production jigs. I think something similar will happen if the White House keeps changing hands. The private sector will have working subsystems that can be assembled to reflect a new gov policy early when it’s announced. Also, we can’t ignore the possibility that Trump will get a second term …. Or a third (who needs the 22nd!) in which case our chances of getting to the Moon are pretty good.

  • Andrew_M_Swallow

    I am hoping the reusable landers will become customers for Lox, methane, hydrogen and hypergolic bipropellant propellants like MXP-351 and NTO/MMH. Initial sales may be small but if they charge enough the company could make a profit.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Jeff Bezos understands that NASA is a very fickle and demanding customer that needs to be kept out of the critical path of any economic development in space. That is why he has signed an agreement with a private German aerospace firm to develop markets, public and private, in Europe for his lunar transportation system. Its another sign of moving beyond NASA.

    In terms of commercializing the ISS, remember, it was only designed to last until 2015. No one knows how much longer it will be operational. Yes, I know there are estimates and plans, but they all have the assumption that a major system failure will not occur. Remember, the same assumptions were being made about the Space Shuttle before the Columbia Accident.

    So although the debate about the future of the ISS is interesting, the ISS itself will ultimately determinate its future. With luck it will last until the BFR is operational and it will be possible to disassemble it and return the modules to Earth to put in museums in the respective member nations. Really, that is probably the best outcome that could be hoped for it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    LOL the joke back in the day that “I” thought was funny but several people did not…was that NASA should have taken the ICM, painted Space Station Freedom/Alpha on the side of it, launched it and we were underway.

    problem was no one was interested in that until the station came within 1 vote of being gone adn then all of a sudden the Russians did just that.

    if we would rethink programs and come up with measurable “steps” that could be done in four years…and do them…well the world changes.

    NASA has of course tried this in reverse…they have tried to kill commercial crew by well stretching it out…hoping that somehow it would go away and something else would come up…except Orion is taking longer than commercial crew. and soon the lobbiest will be invested in that.

    we need a private hardware based policy but government is going to have to pay for it…

    Where is teh ICM now? Deep lunar outpost coming 🙂

  • Robert G. Oler

    Tom you were going so well with competent policy talk and then you went off in the BFR koolaide 🙂 I am sorry

    what Bezos grasp is that no matter what else is being said…space station privatization or some sort of commercial effort is going to happen…and the next major US goal is a lunar base…(at least that is what I think) and he would like to get the Europeans on board as well

    as we all should

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    If you’re right that at this point in time government program managers and policy makers think that a government program can outrun a serious private effort, that would be a stunning lack of insight into your own programs limitations and capabilities. It could outlast for sure, but not outrun. If that’s what’s going on, it’s the kind of mistake a early 30 something would make coming into the drivers seat of a program ignorant of the history of the institution beyond the popular history the institution puts forward as its public face.

  • windbourne

    And yet, it is Spacex launching Germans to the moon in several months. Likewise, it is Spacex that works closely with all of European space.

    And yet, you imply that BO’s single contract is far more important.
    Hmmm.

  • windbourne

    ULA will not be a player in that. They are too attached to GOP’s version of NASA as a jobs program.

    It will be Spacex, BO, Bigelow, possibly SNC, along with a few minor players.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    ULA will never go away. It’s roots are in two major defence contractors and the space sector is married to the weapons community. Not to mention BO and SX have independent agenda’s that lie beyond the US government’s agenda. SX is trying to create what will become a new nation, and BO is already reaching out to international players to create Moon Base Alpha/Space 1999/International Socialist Lunar Union. The US government will always make sure ULA is there to represent Uncle Sam’s interest set and moderate SX and BO however far they actually get.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    We know what space stations look like as they begin their swan dive to retirement. Salyut 7 and Mir suffered major system failures years before they were actually retired. So far the ISS seems pretty robust dispite/or perhaps because (?) of it’s low crew level. Consider also, how much more hardware there is to fail. It looks as if the lessons learned from the USSR/Russia were taken to heart by Russia, the US, EU, and Japan.

  • windbourne

    I never said that they would go away.
    I said that they will not be a player in controlling space expansion. ULA has NO interest in that. All they care about is, fleecing the gov. and getting their profits.

    OTOH, SX, BO, Bigelow, SNC, etc are interested in expanding humans into space, esp to the moon and mars. These companies will control our future. Once they push us to the moon, CONgress will have no choice but to finally allow NASA to do their jobs, rather than be a massive flow-through to ULA, Boeing, L-Mart, etc.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Everywhere those companies go, ULA (mainly Lockheed) will go. Whatever the US government’s agenda is, it’s their (ULA’s) agenda, “they know who they work for”. When companies really go out and start forming new proto-nations, governments will take notice. Including and especially the US government.

    If the US government is smart it will spawn as many nations as it can and fill the Solar System with as many descendants of the USA as it can. Just as the anglosphere came to the rescue of GB all during the endless crisis of the 20th cen, daughter states would likely share interests and culture with the USA and come to our rescue in times of future troubles.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Exactly ULA will never go away. Having said that…Blue will become as much a part of the US gov as ULA is…watch

  • Robert G. Oler

    It will be…that do what?

  • windbourne

    ULA controls NOTHING. They do not launch any real number of private sats. All they launch and do is US gov work and hope to continue fleecing America.

    ULA will not go away, but, they do not control space future.
    The fact that they will not make anything or pay for it, means that gov makes all of their choices.
    They are a none player in space.