SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Photo: Bloomberg
NASA has picked Elon Musk's SpaceX to develop the first commercial lander and take the next two US astronauts to the moon, the US space agency said on Friday.
The contract is worth $2.9 billion and is part of NASA's Artemis programme, which aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 as a stepping stone to the first human mission to Mars, DPA news agency reported.
SpaceX had been competing against Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' private space company Blue Origin and defence contractor Dynetics.
Musk tweeted "NASA Rules!!" in response to the decision.
The SpaceX Starship, which is designed to land on the moon, will include a spacious cabin and two airlocks for moonwalks, NASA said.
The goal is to eventually develop a fully reusable launch and landing system that can be used for space travel to destinations including the moon and Mars.
The mission will see four astronauts launched on NASA's Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit, where two of them will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system for their final journey to the moon.
The two astronauts will explore the lunar surface for around a week before returning to Earth. They will be the first people to walk on the moon for more than 50 years.
At least one of the two will be a woman. NASA also aims to bring the first person of colour to the moon's surface as part of the Artemis programme.
The US brought 12 astronauts to the moon between 1969 and 1972.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.