SpaceX beat out two different US-based corporations for the $2.9 billion contract: protection contractor Dynetics, and personal spaceflight firm Blue Origin, which had partnered with a number of different aerospace business titans. The three contenders had been introduced in April 2020, and whereas NASA was anticipated to pick two finalists – because it did with its business crew programme – it has solely awarded SpaceX a unbroken contract.
SpaceX’s meant lunar lander is a modified model of Starship, the spacecraft that the corporate has already begun to construct and take a look at in Texas. To this point, all 4 of the take a look at flights have ended within the prototype craft dramatically exploding.
NASA won’t be placing astronauts aboard Starship till SpaceX has confirmed that it might probably land the spacecraft with out it blowing up, not solely on Earth but additionally with a take a look at touchdown on the lunar floor.
“We aren’t going to launch people till we have now a profitable take a look at,” stated Lisa Watson-Morgan, the chief of NASA’s Human Touchdown System programme, throughout NASA’s announcement.
This contract is a part of NASA’s Artemis programme, meant to land people – together with the primary lady and the primary particular person of color – on the moon for the primary time because the last Apollo mission in 1972. If all goes properly, NASA representatives say this might happen as quickly as 2024.
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