NASA selects SpaceX for second crewed landing demonstration mission on the Moon
- United States
Last year, NASA awarded SpaceX a contract to develop a human landing system (HLS) variant of Starship to land the next U.S. astronauts on the lunar surface under Artemis III and to conduct an uncrewed demonstration mission to the Moon - targeted for no earlier than April 2025. Now, the agency has awarded a contract modification to the Elon Musk-owned firm to provide a second crewed landing demonstration mission in 2027 as part of the Artemis IV mission.
As part of this contract modification, called Option B, SpaceX will further develop its Starship human landing system to meet NASA's requirements for missions beyond Artemis III, including docking with Gateway in lunar orbit, accommodating four crew members, and delivering more mass to the surface, the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Continuing our collaborative efforts with SpaceX through Option B furthers our resilient plans for regular crewed transportation to the lunar surface and establishing a long-term human presence under Artemis. This critical work will help us focus on the development of sustainable, service-based lunar landers anchored to NASA's requirements for regularly recurring missions to the lunar surface," said Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager for the Human Landing System program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
.@NASA announced that @SpaceX will provide a 2nd crewed landing demo on the Moon as part of the Artemis IV mission.With multiple planned lunar landers—from SpaceX & future partners—NASA will be better positioned to accomplish our bold missions. https://t.co/Q4BCuN7Om1— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) November 15, 2022
NASA aims to send a suite of new lunar science instruments and technology demonstrations to study the Moon, land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, establish a long-term and sustainable lunar presence, and more through a series of Artemis missions.