The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has roped in Elon Musk-owned SpaceX to develop Starship human landing system to take astronauts on Moon in the second crew mission planned under Artemis IV. The private rocket manufacturer already posses the contract of first crewed lunar lander to be built up for the Artemis programme’s moon exploration.
Nasa’s administrator Bill Nelson tweeted, “Nasa announced that SpaceX will provide a 2nd crewed landing demo on the Moon as part of the Artemis IV mission. With multiple planned lunar landers—from SpaceX & future partners—NASA will be better positioned to accomplish our bold missions.”
SpaceX’s founder, CEO, and chief engineer Elon Musk responded with another tweet. He wrote, “Much appreciated, SpaceX will not let NASA down!”
SpaceX was earlier prohibited to bid
The first mission planned under Artemis mission has set out for its voyage. Nasa is aiming for a new season of moon exploration beginning with the success of Artemis mission.
The US space agency had asked commercial companies to develop an astronaut Moon lander. In April 2021, Nasa picked SpaceX as its partner to land the next American astronauts on the lunar surface.
For the second mission crewed mission, SpaceX was prohibited from bidding in order to increase the healthy competition. However, Nasa invoked ‘option B’ and awarded the contract again to it.
“Known as Option B, the modification follows an award to SpaceX in July 2021 under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Appendix H Option A contract. Nasa previously announced plans to pursue this Option B with SpaceX. The contract modification has a value of about $1.15 billion,” Nasa stated.
The Nasa’s Artemis 1 moon mission spacecraft has lifted off from Kennedy Space Centre’s Launch Complex 39B on Wednesday. Artemis II will be the first crewed flight test of the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft around the Moon. Artemis III and the subsequent missions under planning will target for regular cadence with crew on and around the Moon.