Elon MuskSpaceX is about to bring American astronauts back to the moon, losing competitive technology billionaire Jeff Bezos to one of the top prizes in the commercial space race.
Friday named SpaceX the only contractor to build its next lunar lander and possibly inspect a single demonstration on the moon by 2024.
According to NASA documents obtained by the Washington Post, SpaceX offered to build and operate its lander for 2.9 billion, which was “significantly” less than Bezos’ Blue Origin rival. A third company called Dynetics submitted a bid that was still high.
The selection of the sole contractor breaks with the recent NASA practice of selecting two rival projects for the most important components of its space program, and is reflected by the final budget pressure the agency was trying to get back to the moon for the first time. Since 1972.
“We have given SpaceX an agreement that we believe has realistic budgets for the years to come that we believe in,” said Mark Kirasic, a NASA official.
The choice of SpaceX threatens to further expand the system, along with other commercial space concerns, and NASA increasingly relies on Kastur’s private space agency. In addition to pioneering a new era in the cost-effective commercial space program for NASA, SpaceX was the first to carry cargo to the International Space Station, and last year, for the first time since 2011, brought a manned spacecraft back to U.S. soil when NASA took astronauts. ISSK.
NASA officials said they were launching a review on how to maintain competition in the development of human landers, including a one-point consultation with the rest of the commercial space industry. They discussed that the single SpaceX was designed to visit a “sustainable” series on the moon after the demonstration landing, they said.
The Bases sought to integrate itself with some of the more traditional forces of the U.S. space industry, with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Dropper as well as the project to build a lunar lander.
SpaceX will use its starship which is under development for a lunar landing. The company eventually plans to use the craft to make a full journey between Earth and Mars, but its role in the landing announced on Friday will only be taken before the two lunar orbits take them back to Earth’s surface.
The mission is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will use Boeing to fly astronauts from a “gateway” into lunar orbit, with giant SLS rockets and Lockheed Martin to Orion spacecraft. Despite the possibility of replacing both of these starship programs, Kirasic said that NASA “has no plans to change our architecture” and that its existing plan to reach the moon would remain unchanged.
SpaceX has suffered several burning crashes this year in its first attempt to prove the starship can land safely. Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s program manager for Lunar Lander, said of the confusion: “Since we have work to do, we will work through them. But now everything looks fine