3 commercial companies to make lunar lander for NASA
NASA awards, Dynetics, Blue Origins, and SpaceX to develop the first lander to touch down on the moon since 1972.
SpaceX, in Hawthorne, California led by Elon Musk, Blue Origin, in Kent, Washington Led by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Dynetics from Huntsville, Alabama, which is a subsidiary of Leidos were awarded contracts totaling in 967 million U.S. dollars. "This is the last piece we need in order to gt the the moon by 2024" Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of NASA said. He also said they will go first with the company that has the highest probability of success by 2024. Two other companies, Boeing, and Vivace placed bids as well but were eliminated early on, leaving just these three.
To get humans back to the moon, NASA will be dependent on it's own Orion capsules and the Space Launch System which is still under development. While only one company will will carry the next man, and first woman to the lunar surface, all three will participate over the long haul officials noted. Bridenstine stated that going commercial will drive down costs while increasing access, building off NASA's commercial cargo, and crew programs for the ISS. Last November SpaceX, and Blue Origin were among the companies that won contracts to deliver cargo the moon.
Photo courtesy of NASA. (from left to right, SpaceX, Dynetics, and Blue Origins proposed graphics for their lunar lander)
The new Artemis Moon landing program is going to be made to be sustainable, unlike Apollo, with multiple missions and multiple locations on the lunar surface. "By learning how to live and work on another world, the moon NASA will be better equipped to eventually send astronauts to Mars," Bridenstine said.
SpaceX's proposed Starship lander is tall, so tall that astronauts will use and elevator to get on and off the lunar surface, where as Blue Origin's version comes with a big ladder according to their renderings. The Dynetics lander is low enough to the surface that only a few steps are needed much like the previous lunar missions.