NASA invests $ 146 million in the development of manned lunar landers

NASA invests $ 146 million in the development of manned lunar landers

NASA is awarding a total of $ 146 million to five American companies to support the development of manned lunar landers. The contracts, awarded through NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, will fund the work over the next 15 months. The companies that have received the funding are:

Blue Origin Dynetics Lockheed Martin Northrop Grumman SpaceX “These companies will make progress towards sustainable human landing systems concepts, conduct risk reduction activities and provide feedback on NASA requirements to nurture industry capabilities for manned lunar landing missions, ”agency officials said in a recent statement.

If all goes according to plan, these advances will benefit the Artemis program. NASA, which is working to bring humans back to the lunar surface within the next few years and establish a sustainable human presence on and around the moon by the end of the decade.

Artemis will rely on manned lunar landers built privately. NASA selected SpaceX to supply the first of these vehicles, awarding Elon Musk's company $ 2.9 billion last April. The company plans to fulfill that contract with its next-generation Starship vehicle, which is currently under development.

Credits: SpaceX won over two other finalists, Dynetics and The National Team, a group led by Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company. Both Dynetics and Blue Origin filed protests with the US Government Accountability Office shortly after the contract was announced. These protests were dismissed, but Blue Origin continued to sue NASA for the decision, halting the agency's lunar lander work with SpaceX until last November 1st.

The newly announced awards are distinct from the $ 2.9 billion HLS deal that SpaceX won. The work that Blue Origin, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and SpaceX will do over the next 15 months "will ultimately help shape the strategy and requirements for a future NASA solicitation to provide smooth transportation of astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the planet. moon, ”agency officials wrote in Tuesday's statement.