NASA is looking for other lunar rovers besides SpaceX's

NASA is looking for other lunar rovers besides SpaceX's

NASA is turning to individuals including SpaceX to increase its chances of success in establishing a presence on the Moon. The announcement asks private space companies to develop a second lander to bring astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface, forming a key pillar in what the agency hopes will become a recurring transportation service for both crew and aircraft. cargo.

The landers along with the Space Launch System will be a key part of NASA's Artemis program, which aims to create a permanent US manned presence on the Moon. Before selecting SpaceX to develop a lunar lander for missions, NASA initially reviewed the plans of a number of companies before narrowing the possibilities to three of them in 2020, including Blue Origin and Dynetics.

NASA selected SpaceX in April last year, awarding the company a $ 2.9 billion contract to develop a lunar lander for two astronauts and the ability to transport them from orbit to the surface. Blue Origin filed a lawsuit for the decision, one of several factors contributing to the delays in the schedule for the first manned mission now scheduled for April 2025.

This is the timeline that SpaceX is working on for a demonstration mission with its lunar lander, and today's announcement opens the door for other US commercial companies to develop one in parallel. NASA is working out the requirements for a second lander in an effort not only to generate competition, but to offer redundancy and ensure it can bring astronauts and scientific research equipment to the lunar surface.

"Under Artemis, NASA will carry out a series of groundbreaking missions to and around the Moon to prepare for humanity's next big leap: a manned mission to Mars," said the administrator of the NASA Bill Nelson. Competition is critical to our success on the lunar surface and beyond, ensuring that we are able to carry out a cadence of missions over the next decade. ”

While manned missions won't begin until 2025, NASA is preparing for unmanned missions that demonstrate the capabilities of its Space Launch System and Orion capsule. Last week, these were first launched out of the assembly building and onto the launch pad, where engineers will conduct a full tank run before the launch of the Artemis 1 mission scheduled for May this year. br>

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