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Space & Astronomy

SpaceX awarded $2.9bn to build lunar lander

By T.K. Randall
April 17, 2021 · Comment icon 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 | Comments (16)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
Yes, but with a major caveat. The Starship vehicles that SpaceX are currently flying are pure prototypes. SpaceX, unlike NASA, do not attempt to get it right first time. They use are series of iterations, finding out what fails and then improving it on the next flight. They did not expect the early flights to end in anything other than crashes. In fact, with the exception of the last flight, all had done better than expected. The last flight was not considered a success because it didn't get near to a landing. Due to a fire on one of the engines the vehicle exploded when it tried to re-light i... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Still Waters 2 years ago
Related: Blue Origin protests NASA choice of SpaceX to land astronauts on Moon Blue Origin, the US space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, on Monday filed a protest against NASA's choice of rival SpaceX to build the module that will land the next US astronauts on the Moon. "NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute," Blue Origin said in a statement sent to AFP. The decision "eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America's retur... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by TheSpaceResident 2 years ago
NASA certainly knows how to make the right choice. SpaceX is the best company to work on the Artemis program on an equal basis with NASA because these guys always keep their promises. I don't understand why so many people worry about the crashes;†it's a normal result of testing the spacecraft.†
Comment icon #10 Posted by Poncho_Peanatus 2 years ago
true beside that, there is no atmosphere on the moon, so the bellyflop is not needed.† †
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
A few points: Firstly SpaceX are not on an equal basis with NASA, they are a supplieriof services in the same way that any other company that wins a NASA contract are. They are no more an equal than the Blue Origin/National Team or Dynetics would have been if they had won the HLS contract.† Secondly this contract is only for the first two lunar landing missions. NASA may yet pick one, or both, of SpaceX's rivals for later missions.† Lastly it is simply untrue to say that SpaceX always keep their promises. There is a whole list of things that SpaceX have either failed to deliver or have deliver... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
Oh Brother! †How long has Jeff B. wanted to go to space? 2015? † Space X has been around a lot longer and has proven itself better than the competition. †Get out the tiny Violin for Jeff.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 2 years ago
† I rest my case. Protesting a government contract is pretty standard. SpaceX sued the USAF for awarding a contract to ULA. SpaceX won their case.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
Well, if Space X won their case there must have been proof of mishandling the quotes or payoff or something.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Trelane 2 years ago
Or inappropriate procedure for contracting certification and awarding process.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Poncho_Peanatus 2 years ago

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