NASA is rushing to return astronauts to the moon’s surface in 2024 with a program called Artemis.
A spaceship and rocket system is already being built to fly crews to the moon. However, NASA started a competition between private companies to make and operate viable lunar-landing hardware for the agency.
SpaceX, Dynetics, and Blue Origin are NASA’s top candidates for the job. The companies are competing for possibly $20 billion in Artemis contracts.
Blue Origin, founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is banking on an alliance with experienced aerospace industry partners Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper to win.
Called “National Team,” the group is developing a three-part system. It will lean on existing hardware and historic approaches (from Apollo) in hopes of winning NASA’s selection.
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Three companies are vying to land NASA astronauts on the moon for the first time in half a century, and one — Blue Origin, founded in 2000 by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos — is banking on extreme teamwork to win the day.
NASA is making an aggressive push to return humans to the moon in 2024 with a program called Artemis. If the US space agency succeeds, it’d be the first crewed lunar landing since Apollo astronauts last hopped across its dusty, cratered surface in December 1972.
This time, however, NASA is racing to go back with less lead time and funding by farming out the design, testing, and operation of a landing system through a multibillion-dollar competition.
NASA picked its three favorite commercial concepts this spring and, on April 30, announced that Blue Origin, SpaceX (founded by Elon Musk), and Dynetics as its three possible options for landing on the moon.
Blue Origin won a $579 million contract, Dynetics got one worth $253 million, and SpaceX earned $135 million from NASA to develop their ideas into real-life hardware, software, and data so the agency can make an informed decision about its final pick. The winning team could get access to roughly $20 billion in contracts for a completed landing system and mission.
SpaceX and Dynetics are each going it mostly alone to develop spaceships that can land cargo and crew on the moon’s surface.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blue Origin, however, recruited aerospace titans Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper Laboratory — all of which played key roles in the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. The alliance, which has been working together for more than a year, named itself the “National Team” because the companies’ joint effort to reach the moon is spread across 16 states.
During a video call with reporters on Thursday, John Couluris, the manager of Blue Origin’s moon program (and a previous SpaceX employee), made it clear he believes National Team will win NASA’s historic competition.
“We need each other, we work together, and we have an integrated solution,” Couluris said. “We’re here to stay, and we are going to be the team …read more
Source:: Business Insider