The US space agency (NASA) wants to own two lunar landers for its future projects. Here’s what Bill Nelson, CEO of the space agency, said. The construction of Elon Musk’s first lunar lander has already been earmarked for, but the fleet expansion could be a boost for Jeff Bezos’ competitor Blue Origin, which has dropped out of the initial selection.
The NASA Three years ago, it announced that it wanted to hire two companies to build a lunar lander. But the space agency found insufficient support for those plans from the US Congress.
Due to financial constraints, NASA decided in April of last year to award only one contract in the end. In doing so, for Designed by SpaceX He was elected, but space agency spokesmen noted that other companies would also be given a chance on future missions.
Bill Nelson has now indicated that a tender will be launched to deliver a second lunar lander soon. “We promised competition and now we can offer it,” the space agency director noted.
“The second partner will share lunar missions – about one flight per year over a decade – with SpaceX. This is not about isolated missions. Each new flight builds on the experiences gained.”
As with last year’s SpaceX contract, the second company will also receive funding for its two launches. The first mission, without astronauts on board, should demonstrate the capabilities of the spacecraft. This is followed by a mission with astronauts on board.
However, the selection of a second lunar lander is still subject to approval by the US Congress, which must provide funding for the project. Nelson said he will not comment on the cost of the program until the next fiscal year’s budget is released. It should happen early next month.
Three candidates participated in the selection of the first lunar lander. The Competitors lose Blue Origin and Dynetics have filed a protest against SpaceX’s selection with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Both projects were significantly more expensive than the bid from SpaceX. Blue Origin and Dynetics Get a second chance now, as well as other companies that would like to submit a proposal to build a lunar lander. Early next year, NASA announced its selection for a second lunar lander.
Both Dynetics and Blue Origin responded positively to the news. However, the requirements for the second lunar probe will be more ambitious than the first design. After all, the second lunar probe should be able to carry a larger payload and be suitable for longer on the lunar surface.
NASA will also renegotiate the current contract with SpaceX to ensure that its lunar probe also meets the new requirements.
Plans to return astronauts to the Moon have been revived under the administration of former US President Donald Trump. NASA spokesmen note, however, that the moon is not the end goal this time around, but rather the beginning of further human exploration of the solar system.
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