SpaceX exclusively wins NASA’s Artemis moonship contract


SpaceX Lunar lander

SpaceX

NASA earlier announced the contract for a new generation of lunar landing craft planned by Artemis.Exclusively by a SpaceX company. Originally, NASA was expected to choose two of the three teams of SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics, but the final result was quite unexpected and both of them were unsuccessful. NASA used to prefer not to put eggs in one basket, but to choose two or more companies to compete. For example, it chose SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner for the manned space capsule. Facts have also proved that this approach can indeed be dispersed. Risk, if only Boeing was chosen then, it would still be impossible to go to space. Therefore, it is somewhat unexpected that NASA only awarded SpaceX a contract worth US$2.9 billion this time. Perhaps NASA has sufficient confidence in SpaceX, which has been cooperating for a long time, or the funds are not enough to support two simultaneous developments.

SpaceX’s proposal is a “modified version” of Starship. Since it only needs to land on the moon and does not need to consider the issue of returning home, it does not have to worry about heat insulation or belly landing and other less mature parts of the current technology. In fact, the development risk is more than the standard The version” is going to be smaller. NASA explained that in addition to the more mature technology on the SpaceX side, the ability to reuse some of the rocket components is also one of the reasons for its favor. After obtaining this 2.9 billion development contract, it is undoubtedly a boost to Starship’s development plan, allowing Starship to reduce its dependence on Falcon 9 or Starlink.

Under the Trump administration, Artemis set an ambitious goal to return to the moon in 2024, but now that after Biden takes over, NASA has to reassess the schedule, plus the fact that funds are not sufficient to support the return to the moon in 2024. , So it is bound to be delayed, but I don’t know in which year it will happen.