Artemis plan: In addition to SpaceX’s Starship, NASA wants a second lunar lander

NASA is working closely with Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, as part of the Artemis mission to the moon. But it appears that NASA is struggling to protect itself and is now looking for a second partner capable of producing lunar landers.

NASA’s ambitious Artmeis lunar program, which aims to return humans to the moon by 2026, is pinning its hopes on Close cooperation between public and privateThe U.S. agency has called on several industry giants, including Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. But in the end it was Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, selected to design a lunar lander.

Artist’s impression – Credit: NASA

In fact, Musk’s giant spacecraft, Starship, Seems like a good fit for the task. It should also make its first orbital flight next May.but it seems SpaceX won’t be able to maintain exclusivity in the moon landing market. NASA announced yesterday (March 23) that it is considering supporting the development of a second lunar lander, turning to a second private company.

Lisa Watson-Morgan, program manager for lunar lander systems at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said:we expect two separate companies Safely transport astronauts to the lunar surface under NASA guidance […] This may lead to the existence of There are several experienced suppliers in the market“.

NASA’s Artemis: SpaceX loses exclusivity

Initially, NASA intended to select several private landers for Artemis to provide some redundancy and Encourage manufacturers to compete. but Congress did not allocate sufficient funds to support the development of several vehicles, and Therefore, NASA chose only SpaceX in April 2021The decision subsequently sparked protests from the other two finalists in the tender, Dynetics and Blue Origin.

In October 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee finally ordered NASA to select a second company to develop a manned lunar lander, while slightly increasing the budget Assigned to NASA.


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