- NASA announced it has selected three companies to submit designs for lunar landers as part of Artemis mission to return humans to the moon by 2024.
- The companies are SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics. SpaceX and Bue Origin are owned by tech billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
- The companies now have ten months to execute their designs.
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NASA has picked the companies it wants to design landers for its plans to return humans to the moon.
The space agency announced Thursday that it had selected three companies to submit designs: SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics. SpaceX is owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Blue Origin by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The companies have 10 months to develop their designs for the Artemis mission, which aims to send manned spacecraft back to the moon by 2024 – the first time it will have done so since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. NASA will pay the three companies $US967 million for this initial design stage.
“This is the last piece we need in order to get to the moon and now we’re going to have that under development,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a press conference.
“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… And yet we need to give people hope. We need to give them something that they can look up to, dream about,” said Bridenstine.
SpaceX’s design is modelled on its 160-foot Starship rocket.
SpaceX has been selected to develop a lunar optimized Starship to transport crew between lunar orbit and the surface of the Moon as part of @NASA’s Artemis program! https://t.co/FRmwWisKfH pic.twitter.com/z1bkUrQMK8
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 30, 2020
“Great work by SpaceX team & very much appreciate faith in Starship by NASA!” Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday. It was also announced in April that SpaceX will launch two NASA astronauts into orbit on May 27.
Blue Origin – which has developed its design with parts from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper – showed off its lander in a YouTube video.
You can also see Dynetics’ design here: