|Manu||Date: Friday, 23-April-2021, 8:36 AM | Message # 1|
|Nasa picks Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build spacecraft to return humans to moon|
Space agency breaks with tradition by awarding $2.9bn contract to single company in ‘big step’ for moon-to-Mars strategy
Nasa has chosen SpaceX to build the next-generation spacecraft that will return humans to the moon, further strengthening Elon Musk’s grip on the burgeoning public-private space industry.
The $2.9bn contract to build the lunar lander that will spearhead the Artemis program, Nasa’s ambitious project to return to the moon for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972, was announced on Friday.
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“The Artemis lunar landing is a key piece to our moon-to-Mars strategy,” Steve Jurczyk, acting Nasa administrator, told reporters. “Today is a big step forward. This is an incredible time to be involved in human exploration for all humanity.”
Musk’s company is currently the only operation with the capability of launching astronauts from US soil. But Nasa’s decision to go with a sole contractor for its human landing system (HLS) raised eyebrows.
Traditionally, the agency has preferred to stimulate competition and protect against setbacks by keeping at least two contractors on the payroll.
This time, partly for budgetary reasons, Nasa chose to reject proposals by the Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, a partnership with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper; and the defense contractor Dynetics.
All three bids were chosen for the preliminary stages of the HLS project in 2020.
Read more/full article/source - - https://www.theguardian.com/science....on-musk