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NASA awards contracts to build spacecrafts to send astronauts back to the moon

NASA awards contracts to build spacecrafts to send astronauts back to the moon

NASA awarded contracts to three companies to design and develop the human landing systems to land the first woman and next man on the moon, the agency announced Thursday

The contracts were awarded to Blue Origin, a Washington state-based company owned by Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Privacy, immigrant rights groups slam 'smart wall' proposal | New DHS policies aim to fight cyber 'epidemic' | Twitter exploring allowing users to charge for content Bezos-backed rocket launch delayed til next year Hillicon Valley: Krebs is back on Capitol Hill | Cybersecurity as 'preeminent threat' | News on data privacy and voter security MORE; Dynetics, an Alabama-based company; and SpaceX, a California-based company founded by Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskTesla temporarily halting some production in California: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help The four horsemen of US green energy development MORE

The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for a 10-month base period. 

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NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineThe Biden administration endorses NASA's Artemis, the Space Force Will Biden continue NASA's Artemis program to return to the moon? NASA demonstrates why rocket science is still hard with the SLS test MORE said awarding the contracts brings the country one step further toward the goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2024 as part of the so-called Artemis program.  

“This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system, and now we have companies on contract to do the work for the Artemis program,” Bridenstine said in the announcement. 

The three companies have until February 2021 to refine their concepts. NASA will evaluate which of the contractors will perform initial demonstration missions, and then later select firms for developing sustainable lander systems and sustainable demonstration missions.