Space & Astronomy
SpaceX awarded $2.9bn to build lunar lander
By T.K. Randall
April 17, 2021 · 16 comments
SpaceX will be an integral part of NASA's Artemis program. Image Credit: NASA
NASA has chosen SpaceX to build the landing vehicle that will carry the next humans onto the lunar surface.
Elon Musk's space firm has been going from strength to strength in recent years and now it is set to become a much more integral part of NASA's plans to return humans to the Moon.
SpaceX beat several other contenders to the contract to build the lunar lander, including Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and defense contractor Dynetics.
NASA's decision to award the entire contract to Musk's firm breaks with tradition as the space agency typically awards its contracts to more than one provider.
"Congrats to SpaceX, but [I'm] honestly shocked NASA is going with a single provider here," wrote senior space policy adviser Casey Dreier. "Of course, SpaceX always acts as if it's a constant competition with itself. And it's 100% delivered on its capability and price promise so far."
"If SpaceX pulls this off, the US will get a human-capable lunar landing system for 13% the price of Apollo era hardware."
NASA had originally planned to land a man and a woman on the surface of the Moon in 2024, however it seems highly unlikely that this deadline will actually be met.
Even so, things are at least continuing to move forward.
"The Artemis lunar landing is a key piece to our moon-to-Mars strategy," said acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk. "Today is a big step forward."
"This is an incredible time to be involved in human exploration for all humanity."
Source: The Guardian
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