NASA Selects Three Companies to Design New Lunar Landing Craft

April 30, 2020 by Dan McCue
Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. (Photo courtesy NASA)

WASHINGTON – NASA awarded contracts to three companies on Thursday to design and develop human landing systems, one of which will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024 as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

The contracts were awarded to Blue Origin, a Kent, Washington-based company owned by Jeff Bezos, Dynetics, of Huntsville, Alabama, and SpaceX, a Hawthorne, California-based company founded by Elon Musk.

The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for a 10-month base period.

“This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a written statement.

The three companies have until February 2021 to refine their concepts. NASA will evaluate which of the contractors will perform initial demonstration missions, and then later select firms for developing sustainable lander systems and sustainable demonstration missions.

“I am confident in NASA’s partnership with these companies to help achieve the Artemis mission and develop the human landing system returning us to the Moon,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, HLS program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “We have a history of proven lunar technical expertise and capabilities at Marshall and across NASA that will pave the way for our efforts to quickly and safely land humans on the Moon in 2024.”

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