NASA chooses SpaceX to bring astronauts back to the moon

NASA chooses SpaceX to bring astronauts back to the moon

NASA has announced that it has awarded SpaceX a $ 2.9 billion contract to develop a version of the Starship rocket capable of landing people on the moon. The current plan, known as Artemis, calls for astronauts to launch on NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, fly into lunar orbit on the space agency's Orion space capsule, and then transfer to SpaceX's Starship rocket to make the descent. final on the surface.

The contract, worth 2.9 billion dollars, will be allocated for the development of a "lunar" version of the Starship rocket. The futuristic-looking vehicle is still in the prototype phase, with testing underway at a Texas facility. SpaceX has beaten proposals from Jeff Bezos' company, Blue Origin, which has worked with defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper, and Dynetics.

But what is the Artemis program? Announced in 2017 under the Trump administration and developed in 2019, the Artemis program aims to bring US astronauts back to the lunar surface for the first time since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, including the landing of the first woman and first black person on the moon. .

The Biden administration has also expressed its support for the program. But while Trump's team pushed for a manned mission to the lunar surface in 2024, Congress did not provide the required amount of funding for the NASA program (you can read the article at this link) due to a budget of less than that required and delays during the development of the SLS rocket and other parts of the program, NASA is also re-evaluating a likely date to be able to launch the new crew to the moon.

The Artemis I mission, which will be launched no earlier than the end of 2021, will be an unmanned test flight of Orion and SLS. This will be followed by Artemis II, using SLS and Orion to fly a crew around the moon and back but not land, similar to the 1968 Apollo 8 mission. Then Artemis III will use SLS, Orion and the SpaceX spaceship to complete the journey to the lunar surface.

To fly to the moon for a quarter of a million miles, astronauts will travel on NASA's SLS heavy rocket and the Orion spacecraft. The plan then calls for Orion to dock with a landing system (HLS), and that's where SpaceX comes in (click here to buy the SpaceX t-shirt). This spacecraft will wait in lunar orbit for up to 100 days before the astronauts arrive and then land them on the satellite's surface. To return to Earth, the crew will launch from the moon on Starship, transfer to the Orion spacecraft and then return home.

Powered by Blogger.