NASA to just accept new Artemis Lunar Lander proposals from industrial firms

Again in April 2021, NASA chosen SpaceX to develop a lunar lander to hold astronauts to the moon for its future Artemis missions. The SpaceX car will not be the one astronaut to fly over the lunar floor: NASA Announced It welcomes proposals from American firms for landers that may carry human astronauts to the moon from the Gateway station in lunar orbit. With that functionality, the lander design could possibly be used for missions past Artemis III, making it the primary crew touchdown on the moon after Apollo 17.

In its assertion, the company mentioned it was additionally utilizing an choice below an present settlement with SpaceX and was asking the corporate to change the proposed touchdown system to fulfill the brand new requirement. “Persevering with additional improvement work below the unique settlement will enhance NASA’s funding and partnership with SpaceX,” the company mentioned. Having a second lunar lander will “present repetition in service” and assist guarantee dependable transportation for astronauts who will likely be a part of future lunar missions.

Whereas the decision for a second lunar lander is new, it’s not a plan that a couple of firm will work on the undertaking. NASA truly needed to choose a couple of lunar lander supplier for Artemis, however the company didn’t obtain sufficient funding from Congress, prompting it to go solely with SpaceX.

Blue Origin, one of many finalists for the contract, complained to the US Courtroom of Federal Claims that the choice was “essentially unfair.” The area company, owned by Jeff Bezos, argues that NASA allowed SpaceX to change its bid and didn’t give it the identical alternative to take action. It’s value noting that the contract worth of SpaceX gained $ 2.9 billion, whereas Blue Origin’s bid nearly doubled to $ 5.9 billion. NASA believes that Blue Origin intentionally bid increased, assuming that NASA would negotiate and obtain extra funding than that. The courtroom dismissed the Blue Origin lawsuit in November, having to pause work on the SpaceX lander twice, shedding months within the course of. When NASA pushed again the Artemis III mission to 2025, NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson mentioned that the Blue Origin declare was partly guilty.

NASA will concern a draft request for a second lunar lander within the coming weeks earlier than issuing an official request for proposals this summer time.

Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s Human Touchdown System Program Supervisor, says:

“This technique will speed up progress in direction of long-term, sustainable lander capability throughout the 2026 or 2027 timeframe. We count on each firms to soundly carry astronauts aboard their lorries on the lunar floor below NASA’s steerage earlier than we ask for companies, which can result in a number of skilled suppliers out there.”

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