When NASA astronauts return to the Moon in just a few years, they are going to achieve this inside a lander that dwarfs that of the Apollo period. SpaceX’s Starship automobile measures 50 meters from its nostril cone to touchdown legs. In contrast, the cramped Lunar Module that carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin all the way down to the Moon in 1969 stood simply 7 meters tall.
That is however considered one of many genuinely surprising points of NASA’s determination per week in the past to award SpaceX—and solely SpaceX—a contract to develop, check, and fly two missions to the lunar floor. The second flight, which can carry astronauts to the Moon, might launch as early as 2024.
NASA awarded SpaceX $2.89 billion for these two missions. However this contract would balloon in quantity ought to NASA choose SpaceX to fly recurring lunar missions later within the 2020s. And it has worth to SpaceX and NASA in myriad different methods. Maybe most importantly, with this contract NASA has guess on a daring way forward for exploration. Till now, the plans NASA had contemplated for human exploration in deep house all had echoes of the Apollo program. NASA talked about “sustainable” missions and plans by way of price, however they had been sustainable in title solely.
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