According to the latest news, NASA has announced that it has picked SpaceX for its lunar lander mission as part of the Artemis program of 2024. As per NASA’s press release, SpaceX will receive $2.89 billion to build the lunar lander. The human lander will carry two American astronauts to the moon.
NASA said that it is returning to the Moon for ‘scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation’ with an aim of building a new habitat, rovers, and power systems that would be helpful for its next leap to Mars.
Note that it would be the first commercial human lander to carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface since Apollo. This time, at least one of the two American astronauts will be a woman. This indicates, the she is going to be the first woman on the Moon. As per reports, NASA is also planning to land the first person of color to moon through the Artemis program.
Last year, NASA chose SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics as contenders to design and develop human landing systems (HLS) for the mission. The contract is valued at $967 million. SpaceX’s Starship won the deal by outperforming Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. SpaceX Starship uses Raptor engines and a spacious cabin with two airlocks for astronaut moonwalks.
Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate said “With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration”.
Soon after NASA released its press statement, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter “NASA Rules!! We are honored to be part of the @NASAArtemis team”.