The two richest men in the world have started bickering after Elon Musk’s SpaceX won the $2.9 billion moon lander contract from NASA, leaving behind Blue Origin, the space rocket company backed by billionaire Jeff Bezos.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is to develop the first commercial human lander for NASA that will land the first woman on the moon as part of its Artemis program. SpaceX won the war being tightly fought for the global space race, with both parties vying for contracts from the government agency NASA and other businesses.
Starship by SpaceX to land on the moon
The human landing system (HLS) named Starship has been designed by SpaceX to carry crew, supplies, and equipment between a craft in lunar orbit and the moon’s surface during the planned 2024 mission. The astronauts will be launched into orbit in NASA’s Space Launch System rocket onboard the Orion spacecraft. Two crew members will then be transferred to SpaceX’s Starship, which will transport them down to the moon.
SpaceX was competing against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Alabama-based Dynetics to win the contract.
Blue Origin unhappy with NASA rules
Blue Origin has filed a protest with the federal Government Accountability Office, accusing NASA of changing rules and moving goalpost for contract bidders at the last-minute making things easier for SpaceX. However, this has not gone down well with Musk, who mocked Blue Origin over a series of tweets.
The total award value of the contract for the Starship is $2.89 billion. Its architecture is meant to evolve to a fully reusable launch and landing system designed to travel to the moon, Mars, and other destinations. The Artemis project, which will mark the first time humankind has landed on the moon since 1972, is being undertaken to prepare a future mission to Mars.
Last year NASA announced that it is working with architecture studio BIG to design 3D-printed buildings for the moon, and debuted SpaceX spacesuits featuring its 1970s “worm” logo., the human landing system (HLS) designed by SpaceX will carry crew, supplies, and equipment between a craft in lunar orbit and the moon’s surface during the planned 2024 mission.
The astronauts will be launched into orbit in NASA’s Space Launch System rocket on board the Orion spacecraft. Two crew members will then transfer to SpaceX’s Starship, transporting them down to the moon.