Musk, Bezos companies win NASA contracts for moon landing

This illustration made available by NASA in April 2020 depicts Artemis astronauts on the Moon. On Thursday NASA announced the three companies that will develop build and fly lunar landers with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024

This illustration made available by NASA in April 2020 depicts Artemis astronauts on the Moon. On Thursday NASA announced the three companies that will develop build and fly lunar landers with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024

The combined value of the three contracts is $967 million for a 10-month base period. We've got all the other pieces in work already, and this is the last big piece.

The three companies SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics.

Through its Artemis mission, NASA will endeavor to return humans, including the first woman, to the Moon in the year 2024, and it has just narrowed down the field of firms that will help carry the astronauts safely down to the lunar surface. Dynetics will receive $US253 ($388) million, and SpaceX will get $US135 ($207) million.

SpaceX received the third HLS award, valued at $135 million.

SpaceX is using its own Starship spacecraft - still under development in Texas - and its own rockets. SpaceX had not announced its intent to bid on the program, declining to answer questions about it in the past, although the company was widely rumored to have submitted a bid.

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The winning lander concepts take different approaches to the challenge of setting humans down on the lunar surface.

The three winning bidders will begin work with NASA to refine their concepts, including defining requirements for each lander. That said, DHLS might be a viable consideration for NASA later this decade. Dynetics says it will perform a demonstration flight to test key capabilities for its lander system prior to a mission to the lunar surface.

NASA has narrowed down a choice for its forthcoming Artemis lunar landing module to three proposed designs from a trio of US companies, and whichever one alights on the moon's surface first, it's safe to say it'll look distinctly different from the two that stayed behind on Earth. "Going to the moon is the reason why we got into this business", he said.

"It's important that this agency do this now, because our country - and, in fact, the whole world - has been shaken by this coronavirus pandemic", Bridenstine said Thursday (April 30) during a teleconference with reporters. But the 2024 landing probably will not involve Gateway, Bridenstine said on Thursday. This three-stage lander will have ascent, descent, and transfer elements. Its vehicle would be sent aloft on the Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift rocket that Boeing Co.is building for NASA's future deep-space exploration missions. Bridenstine said SLS will still be used for launching the crewed Orion spacecraft to lunar orbit, where it will dock with the Gateway or directly with the selected lander. NASA is stressing both speed-getting to the moon by 2024-and sustainability, going there to stay, rather than making the brief Apollo-style visits that have since been disparagingly dubbed the "flags and footprints" model. Unlike the LEM, which was effectively designed by NASA and then built to order by the Grumman corporation, the new landers are being designed entirely by private companies, which will then compete to prove to NASA that theirs is the ship the agency should pick. The exact nature of Artemis is still up in the air.

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