SpaceX Wins Large NASA Contract for Starship Moon Missions
NASA announced today that it has awarded three massive contracts to develop lunar landing systems in an effort to return American astronauts to the Moon’s surface as soon as 2024, as Ars Technica reports.
“With these contract awards, America is moving forward with the final step needed to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, including the incredible moment when we will see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
SpaceX received a $135 million contract to further develop the Super Heavy rocket-powered Starship. The massive spacecraft, currently in development, could one day carry up to 100 passengers to the Moon and beyond.
A lunar optimized Starship can fly many times between the surface of the Moon and lunar orbit without flaps or heat shielding required for Earth return pic.twitter.com/Zpkldayy85
SpaceX’s “proposal included an in-space propellent transfer demonstration and uncrewed test landing,” wrote Bridenstine in a follow-up tweet.
“SpaceX is really good at flying and testing — and failing and fixing,” Bridenstine told Ars Technica‘s Eric Berger. “People are going to look at this and say, ‘My goodness, we just saw Starship blow up again. Why are you giving them a contract?’ The answer is because SpaceX is really good at iteratively testing and fixing.”