Washington – SpaceX, the high-tech pioneer Elon Musk’s space agency, is to build a new lunar module for the US space agency NASA. NASA Manager Lisa Watson-Morgan announced on Friday that SpaceX has won the tender to create a new lander for manned lunar missions. Blue Origin, the space company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Dynamics, the arms company, applied for the deal.
For the first time since 1972, NASA wants to bring astronauts back to the moon. Through the Artemis 1 mission, a spacecraft is scheduled to be launched as a test aircraft to the moon later this year, according to previous plans. Without a crew initially, it would have to orbit the moon and then return to Earth. With Artemis 2, astronauts are expected to orbit the moon in 2023.
SpaceX won the $ 2.9 billion deal
Only with Artemis 3 will astronauts actually land on Earth’s satellite. Former US President Donald Trump has set a 2024 deadline for NASA. But it looks like the most ambitious schedule under Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, will be relaxed.
In the tender for the new NASA lunar module, SpaceX offered further development of its spacecraft “Starship”, which Musk wants to direct long-distance missions to Mars. The advantage of “Starship” is that its parts are reusable. The prototypes are currently being tested at a company facility in South Texas. However, all four versions tested so far have exploded. SpaceX has already established itself in space travel with its Falcon-9 rocket. She finished her in November International Space Station ISS.
SpaceX is the only company to have been awarded a $ 2.9 billion contract. NASA usually selects multiple companies so they will not be empty if they fail. Analysts see the breakdown of tradition as another sign of the space agency’s confidence in SpaceX.