The US space agency Nasa has made its decision: The private company SpaceX is to build the lander, with which astronauts are expected to land on the moon as part of an Artemis mission in 2024. SpaceX and its founder and main owner Elon Musk have thus prevailed against competitors Dynetics and Blue Origin from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Nasa announced this at a press conference on Friday.
A week on the moon
The Human Landing System (HLS) called the lunar lander model is supposed to bring two astronauts and their equipment to the surface of the moon, where they should stay for about a week, writes the NASA in a statement on their decision. The contract with SpaceX is to set a binding volume of 2.89 billion US dollars (about 2.42 billion euros) and define intermediate goals (milestones).
The Artemis 1 mission is supposed to be an unmanned test flight to the moon, with Artemis 2 astronauts are only supposed to orbit the moon. Artemis 3 is planned for 2024 – this was the goal announced by the previous US President Trump. However, there are increasing voices that do not consider the schedule to be realistic any longer. One reason for this is probably that NASA applied to the US parliament for more than three billion dollars, but only received about a third of this amount.
To Mars and beyond
The HLS should be based on the Starship rocket from SpaceX, which should be equipped with two air locks for the moon walks, writes NASA. SpaceX founder Elon Musk let his joy run wild over the decision on Twitter – in his well-known spirited way.
The Artemis 3 mission is to bring four astronauts to the moon, two of whom will land with the HLS – including a woman and a “person of color”. NASA wants to use its giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for transport. The SLS recently successfully passed the test for the Artemis 1 mission. According to NASA, the moon is only a first step on the way to Mars and “further goals”.