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 Bezos; Dynetics, an Alabama-based company; and SpaceX, a California-based company founded by Elon Musk.
The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for a 10-month base period.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine 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.