SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics Will Build Human Lunar Landers for NASA’s next Trip Back to the Moon
by Darrell Etherington | TechCrunch
NASA has selected the companies that will provide them with the human landing system for their Artemis Moon missions, including a lander vehicle that will carry astronauts from space to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972. Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics were picked from a larger field of competitors to develop and build human landing systems (HLS) to carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon, a goal which NASA still hopes to accomplish by 2024.
SpaceX’s Starship was selected as a lander that will launch using the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket. Starship is the spacecraft that SpaceX currently has in development, which is designed as a fully reusable spacecraft for missions to orbit, to the Moon and to Mars . Super Heavy is also currently in development, and will act as a fully reusable booster that’s capable of propelling the large mass of Starship to orbit with a full payload. Starship as a lander choice is an interesting one, because it’s a very different model and design from landers that have made the trip previously.
NASA says that the Starship selection can help its long-term goals because of its flexible design, enabling it to provide fuel transfer in Earth orbit for the longer trip transporting crew, including from Orion or the Gateway Moon-orbital station to the lunar surface. SpaceX’s proposal included providing a demonstration of in-space propellant transfer between vehicles, as well as an uncrewed test landing on the Moon.