NASA chose SpaceX to build a spacecraft that will take humans to the moon for the first time since the Apollo program ended in 1972, the Washington Post reports. The agency goes announce Which company (ies) won the contract for the Artemis lunar lander at a press conference on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.
SpaceX would have beaten Blue origin (who teamed up with key aerospace players like Lockheed Martin) and defense contractor Dynetics to win the $ 2.9 billion contract. NASA was previously expected to select two of the companies.
NASA tends to choose multiple contractors for its key programs to promote competition and to ensure that there are multiple options in case a vendor cannot deliver on their proposal. He chose the three for the first stage of the contract last year but he would have decided to move all in on SpaceX.
The company launched its Spatialship for Artemis missions. Although SpaceX has been encounter problems with the reusable spacecraft during testing (all prototypes have crashed and / or exploded so far), NASA seems confident the company can do it right. SpaceX still plans to put Starship into orbit later this year.
The contract would be a major victory for SpaceX. He is already working with NASA to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, with the next mission scheduled for April 22.
When the Artemis program started under the Trump administration, the goal was to bring astronauts back to the moon in 2024, but the project schedule is under review. NASA also currently does not have the funding it needs to complete the mission by 2024. The agency plans to land a woman and a person of color on the moon for the first time thanks to the program, and she set up a shortlist of eligible astronauts for the first missions.
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