NASA, which is preparing to send astronauts to explore the moon as part of the Artemis program, has selected SpaceX to continue developing the first commercial lander that will safely transport two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of these astronauts will go down in history as the first woman on the moon. Another goal of the Artemis program is the landing of the first non-European human race on the lunar surface.
The Space Launch System’s powerful rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft on their multi-day journey into lunar orbit. There, two crew members will transfer to SpaceX’s Human Landing System (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the lunar surface. After about a week of surface exploration, they will board the lander for their short voyage back into orbit, where they will return to Orion to travel back to Earth.
“This important step is putting humanity on a sustainable path to exploring the Moon and prompting us to think about future missions further into the solar system, including Mars,” said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s manned missions program, in connection with the announcement of the SpaceX contract award.
The total contract amount with fixed price and milestones is $ 2.89 billion. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, which has teamed up with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper, as well as Dynetics, also participated in the final round of the competition.
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