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NASA Chooses Three Commercial Partners for Artemis Human Lunar Lander Design

NASA has chosen three commercial space companies to design and develop human certified landing systems for its Artemis program. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has plans to head back to the moon, building off of the Apollo program that concluded nearly forty years ago. Artemis is currently projected to launch in April 2021 with the next man and first woman astronaut. To step foot on the moon.

The Artemis program budgeted $967 million over a 10-month base period to the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, calling on American companies to bid on the project. The three companies that won the contracts and will begin developing and building human landing systems were Blue Origin, Dynetics, and SpaceX.

Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

First on the list is Blue Origin. This Kent Washington based company is best known for its celebrity CEO Jeff Bezos. The owner of Amazon has slowly guided his passion project space company towards the commercial space tourism industry. Close after the announcement of their super-heavy rocket New Glenn, the company announces plans to land on the moon with their lander Blue Moon. Although they have designs for Blue Moon, the proposed lander sent to NASA through the Artemis Program bid bears little resemblance. Blue Origin’s lander will be a three-stage lander that will hitch a ride onboard the ULA Vulcan launch system and later their New Glenn rocket.

Photo Courtesy of NASA

Dynetics is a Leidos company (formally known as Science Application International Corporation) which has worked with the United States defense department and NASA for over 60 years. Leidos works primarily in-flight integration, planning, and designing payload integration and developing automated object detection systems. The company has experience in payload sensor development and human-computer interaction ergonomics. This information company seems to primarily work in the software sector but they seemingly have a full-fledged plan to build a human-rated lander for the moon.

Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

Lastly, SpaceX was also named among the winners of the bid. SpaceX has been feverishly working on developing their Starship rocket. With the announcement of their winning bid came the announcement of a new Starship Moon variant that will be a fully integrated lander and will utilize the companies super-heavy rocket.

The three companies will develop and build their landers through the contract base period ending in February 2021 at which point NASA will choose individual companies to demonstrate their missions.



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