SpaceX secures $ 2.9 billion contract from NASA to develop lunar lander

SpaceX was awarded a $ 2.89 billion contract from NASA to develop the first commercial human lander to transport two astronauts to the lunar surface.

The firm, milestone-based fixed price contract is part of the agency’s Artemis program to explore new parts of the moon.

The program will see the first woman and the next man land on the lunar surface as early as 2024.

SpaceX was competing for the contract with aerospace maker Blue Origin and the Leidos Holdings Dynetics unit.

Kathy Lueders, Associate Administrator of the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, said, “With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon on the 21st. century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration.

“This critical milestone puts humanity on a path of sustainable lunar exploration and keeps its eyes on missions further into the solar system, including Mars.”

NASA’s Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey into lunar orbit.

Two crew members will be transferred to the SpaceX Human Landing System (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the moon.

The news comes days after SpaceX said it had raised around $ 1.16 billion in equity financing over the past two months.

Last month, an unequipped SpaceX Starship prototype rocket failed to land safely after a test launch from Boca Chica, Texas.