NASA has chosen SpaceX’s starship as the lander to take the astronauts to the moon

Surprising selection: Last year, NASA awarded three separate group contracts to further develop the Lunar Landers’ own proposals: এ 135 million to SpaceX, 25 253 million to defense agency Dynamics (which it was working on). Sierra Nevada Corporation), And a four-agency team led by 57 9,579 million Blue source (Working with Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Dropper).

SpaceX not only received the lowest amount – its proposal also received the worst technology and management ratings. NASA Associate Administrator (currently Acting Administrator) By Steve Jursiyek (PDF) Starship’s propulsion system “consists of significantly more complex and similarly complex individual subsystems that have yet to be developed, tested, and certified with very low schedule margins to accommodate delays.”

What has changed: Since then, SpaceX has gone through several flight tests of several full-scale starship prototypes, Including 10km high-altitude aircraft and safe landing in March. (It also exploded a few times.) According to the Washington Post, the document showed that NASA was fascinated by the ability to carry large quantities of goods (up to 100 tons) on the moon of the starship, not to mention its 9 2.9 billion bid for the contract, which was much lower than its rivals. .

“This innovative human landing system will be a feature in the history of spaceflight,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s program manager for the Lander Lander system. “We are confident of NASA’s partnership with SpaceX.”

What this means: For SpaceX’s rivals, it’s a devastating blow. The company, founded by Jeff Bezos in particular to Blue Source, unveiled the Blue Moon lander concept in 2019 and has done so. It has publicly campaigned for NASA to be elected For future lunar missions. Neil Moon was arguably the most advanced of the three proposals when NASA awarded the first-round deal.

For SpaceX, it’s a big vote of confidence in Starship as an important part of technology for the next generation of search generation. This comes less than a year after the company’s Crew Dragon vehicle was certified The only American spacecraft capable of carrying a NASA astronaut into space. And that seems to confirm that SpaceX now supplies older companies like NASA’s largest private partner, Northrop Grumman, and is removing even more new companies like Blue Origin. But there is at least one major hurdle: Starship needs to be launched using a super heavy rocket Space is a design that SpaceX still flies.

For NASA, the biggest impact is that SpaceX vehicles will only play a bigger role for Artemis, the lunar exploration program that was considered the successor to Apollo. Former President Donald Trump’s instructions on behalf of NASA The astronauts returning to the moon by 2024 have never been realized, However, the selection of a single human lander concept suggests that NASA cannot miss that deadline too much. The first Artemis missions will be Orion and use The long-delayed space launch system rocket is expected to be ready soon.

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