SpaceX receives contract for second lunar mission

NASA has signed a contract with SpaceX for the second lunar mission.Within its framework, the Starship spacecraft will deliver the participants of the Artemis IV expedition to the south pole, the implementation of which is scheduled for 2027.

Starship on the Moon (concept). Source: SpaceX

In 2021, SpaceX won the Human Landing System competition organized by NASA. Its goal was to find the manufacturer of the lander designed to deliver astronauts of Artemis expeditions to the Moon. As a prize, SpaceX got a 2.9 billion contract. According to its terms, the company should build a Starship HLS spacecraft. After an unmanned test, which will confirm its reliability, the device will deliver two astronauts of the Artemis III mission to the south pole of the Moon. Currently, this flight is scheduled for 2025.

NASA’s agreement with SpaceX provides for the possibility of making modifications to the contract. On November 15, the organization announced its decision to use this option. Under the terms of the new arrangement (known as Option B), SpaceX will also take over the support of the Artemis IV mission, including docking with the Gateway station, landing four crew members on the surface of the Moon and delivering a larger payload mass. For this, the company will receive an additional USD 1.15 billion.

Recall that back in early 2022, NASA announced that the Artemis IV mission does not involve landing people on the Moon and will be entirely devoted to the assembly of the Gateway lunar orbital station. But then the organization made changes to its plans.

It is also worth noting that NASA has recently started accepting applications for the creation of a second lunar lander for the needs of the Artemis program. The winner of the competition will be announced in May 2023. Since SpaceX already has a contract with NASA, the company will not be able to participate in the new competition.

According to

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