As Artemis Moves Forward, NASA Picks SpaceX to Land Next Americans on Moon

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  dig  •  2 weeks ago  •  13 comments

By:   NASA Press Release

As Artemis Moves Forward, NASA Picks SpaceX to Land Next Americans on Moon
The agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey to lunar orbit. There, two crew members will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the surface of the Moon.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



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Illustration of SpaceX Starship human lander design that will carry the first NASA astronauts to the surface of the Moon under the Artemis program.
Credits: SpaceX

NASA is getting ready to send astronauts to explore more of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, and the agency has selected SpaceX to continue development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon. Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface.

The agency’s powerful Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey to lunar orbit. There, two crew members will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the surface of the Moon. After approximately a week exploring the surface, they will board the lander for their short trip back to orbit where they will return to Orion and their colleagues before heading back to Earth.

The firm-fixed price, milestone-based contract total award value is $2.89 billion.

"With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate. “This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars.”

SpaceX has been working closely with NASA experts during the HLS base period of performance to inform its lander design and ensure it meets NASA’s performance requirements and human spaceflight standards. A key tenet for safe systems, these agreed-upon standards range from areas of engineering, safety, health, and medical technical areas.

“This is an exciting time for NASA and especially the Artemis team,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, program manager for HLS at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “During the Apollo program, we proved that it is possible to do the seemingly impossible: land humans on the Moon. By taking a collaborative approach in working with industry while leveraging NASA’s proven technical expertise and capabilities, we will return American astronauts to the Moon’s surface once again, this time to explore new areas for longer periods of time.”

SpaceX’s HLS Starship, designed to land on the Moon, leans on the company’s tested Raptor engines and flight heritage of the Falcon and Dragon vehicles. Starship includes a spacious cabin and two airlocks for astronaut moonwalks. The Starship architecture is intended to evolve to a fully reusable launch and landing system designed for travel to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations.

The HLS award is made under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix H Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).

In parallel with executing the Appendix H award, NASA intends to implement a competitive procurement for sustainable crewed lunar surface transportation services that will provide human access to the lunar surface using the Gateway on a regularly recurring basis beyond the initial crewed demonstration mission.

With NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, HLS, and the Gateway lunar outpost, NASA and its commercial and international partners are returning to the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation. Working with its partners throughout the Artemis program, the agency will fine-tune precision landing technologies and develop new mobility capabilities to enable exploration of new regions of the Moon. On the surface, the agency has proposed building a new habitat and rovers, testing new power systems and more. These and other innovations and advancements made under the Artemis program will ensure that NASA and its partners are ready for human exploration’s next big step—the exploration of Mars.

For more information about the human landing system, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/content/humans-on-the-moon-0


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Dig
Senior Guide
1  seeder  Dig    2 weeks ago

They're aiming for 2024. Not that far off.

SpaceX's Starships do keep blowing up, but they won't be using the full version (meant for Earth surface launches and returns). Apparently, SpaceX will build a special version, for use only as a lunar lander, and the astronauts will transfer to it from a NASA Orion capsule in lunar orbit.

We're going to see Americans walk on the moon again, people! With much better cameras these days! The first woman, and the first person of color, too. Both on the same mission. 

I'm getting goosebumps already. I can hardly wait.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dig @1    2 weeks ago

I'm right with you Dig. I am so glad to see us going back up to the moon. With our modern technology, there will be so much more we can learn. 

When does Musk come up with warp drive? jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Dig
Senior Guide
1.1.1  seeder  Dig  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.1    2 weeks ago
When does Musk come up with warp drive?

I'd be happy just with something like the Epstein Drive from The Expanse.

Constant acceleration for super high speeds, and turning around half-way to your destination and decelerating at the same rate for artificial gravity the whole way there. The problem is your engines have to burn for the entire trip.

Someone really needs to tell him to get on that.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

Truly an exciting time in our history.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
3  SteevieGee    2 weeks ago

It looks really big and aerodynamic for a lunar lander.

 
 
 
Dig
Senior Guide
3.1  seeder  Dig  replied to  SteevieGee @3    2 weeks ago

I was wondering about that, too. Maybe they plan to launch it from Earth whole, like a regular Starship, or maybe on top of their planned Starship booster. It would still need its regular shape if that's the case.

I was also wondering how they plan to get the astronauts down to the surface from the cabin at the top.

 
 
 
MrFrost
PhD Principal
3.1.1  MrFrost  replied to  Dig @3.1    2 weeks ago
I was also wondering how they plan to get the astronauts down to the surface from the cabin at the top.

With 1/6th the gravity, they could just jump and be totally fine. 

 
 
 
Dig
Senior Guide
3.1.2  seeder  Dig  replied to  MrFrost @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

Lol. I've done some poking around, and it looks like they plan to have an airlock deck with an elevator that comes out of a side port near the bottom of the crew section.

 
 
 
Dig
Senior Guide
4  seeder  Dig    2 weeks ago

If anyone's interested, I found a video on YouTube that explains quite a bit about the special lunar lander version of Starship.

 
 
 
Ender
PhD Principal
5  Ender    2 weeks ago

I noticed it said habitat. I think they should build a station on the Moon's surface.

A long term base more or less.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
5.1  devangelical  replied to  Ender @5    2 weeks ago

I agree, although a very expensive logistical challenge.

 
 
 
MrFrost
PhD Principal
5.2  MrFrost  replied to  Ender @5    2 weeks ago
I think they should build a station on the Moon's surface.

With all the lightweight materials, it really should be fairly feasible. 

 
 
 
Dig
Senior Guide
5.3  seeder  Dig  replied to  Ender @5    2 weeks ago
I think they should build a station on the Moon's surface.

They plan to. As of now it's going to be called Artemis Base Camp, and will be built in Shackleton Crater at the south pole so solar panels can see the sun non-stop. There might also be water ice there.

 
 
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