NASA: SpaceX was announced last Friday (16) as the winner of a $ 2.9 billion contract with NASA to be responsible for taking space agency astronauts to the Moon. However, there is a clause in the negotiation that it makes the mission even more challenging – and it leaves the competition dreaming of new opportunities.
According to The New York Times, NASA has made it mandatory to carry out an unmanned mission to the Moon before sending astronauts. This means that the company will have to send the “empty” Starship into space, land it on the natural satellite and return to Earth with all the same systems promised for the official mission operating.
In addition, companies that participated in the selection process and were discarded may continue to participate in future contracts involving landings on the Moon – which should revive the hopes of companies like Blue Origin, for example.
For the time being, SpaceX has not commented on the mission or reported a window for carrying out this test landing.
The Artemis Project, the name of NASA’s program that has the ultimate goal of humanity returning to the Moon, brings the deadline to 2024, but the date may still be revised because of budget restrictions.