NASA is awarding a complete of $146 million to 5 American firms to assist the development of crewed moon landers, company officers introduced Tuesday (Sept. 14).
The fixed-price, milestone-based contracts, awarded by way of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, will fund work over the subsequent 15 months. The firms getting cash are:
- Blue Origin Federation of Kent, Washington, $25.6 million;
- Dynetics (a Leidos firm) of Huntsville, Alabama, $40.8 million;
- Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, $35.2 million;
- Northrop Grumman of Dulles, Virginia, $34.8 million;
- SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $9.4 million.
“These companies will make advancements toward sustainable human landing system concepts, conduct risk-reduction activities and provide feedback on NASA’s requirements to cultivate industry capabilities for crewed lunar landing missions,” company officers mentioned in a press release Tuesday.
Related: How NASA’s Artemis moon touchdown with astronauts works
If all goes in keeping with plan, these advances will profit NASA’s Artemis program, which is working to return people to the lunar floor inside the subsequent few years and set up a sustainable human presence on and across the moon by the top of the last decade.
Artemis will depend on privately constructed crewed lunar landers. NASA picked SpaceX to offer the primary of those autos, awarding Elon Musk’s firm a $2.9 billion Human Landing System (HLS) deal this previous April. The firm plans to satisfy that contract with its next-generation Starship car, which is at the moment in development.
SpaceX gained the HLS award over two different finalists — Dynetics and The National Team, a bunch led by Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight firm. Both Dynetics and Blue Origin filed protests with the U.S. Government Accountability Office shortly after the contract was introduced. Those protests had been denied, however Blue Origin went on to sue NASA over the HLS resolution, halting the company’s moon lander work with SpaceX till Nov. 1.
The newly introduced awards are distinct from the $2.9 billion HLS deal that SpaceX gained. The work that Blue Origin, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and SpaceX carry out over the subsequent 15 months “will ultimately help shape the strategy and requirements for a future NASA’s [sic] solicitation to provide regular astronaut transportation from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon,” company officers wrote in Tuesday’s assertion.
Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e-book in regards to the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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