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SpaceX wins NASA $2.9 billion big order: manufacturing manned lunar lander

On April 17 news, on Friday, local time, NASA announced that SpaceX, a space company owned by Elon Musk, defeated Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin company and defense The contractor Dynetics has won an exclusive contract worth US$2.9 billion to help it manufacture a manned lunar lander that will send astronauts to the moon as early as 2024.

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Bezos and Musk are the world's richest and third richest people on the Forbes list respectively. They are always competing for who can lead mankind back to the moon first. SpaceX participated in the bidding alone, and Blue Origin formed the so-called "national team" with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. This contract marks another major victory for SpaceX, becoming the top aerospace company in the United States and consolidating its position as one of NASA's most trusted partners.

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This is the first commercial manned lander contract awarded by NASA. The equipment is part of the "Artemis" (Artemis) return to the moon program. NASA said that four astronauts will take the Orion spacecraft to the lunar orbit, and then SpaceX's lander will carry two American astronauts to the lunar surface. NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said: "We should complete the next lunar landing as soon as possible. If SpaceX can achieve their milestones, we will have the opportunity to try to land on the moon in 2024."


NASA confirmed that SpaceX’s bid for the lander is actually a variant of an interplanetary spacecraft, including a spacious cabin and two airlocks for astronauts landing on the moon, and its architecture is designed to evolve into a fully reusable launch and landing. The system is designed to travel to the moon, Mars and other space destinations. SpaceX also responded on Twitter, writing: "We are honored to help NASA usher in a new era of human space exploration."


Unlike the Apollo program, where humans landed on the surface of the moon from 1969 to 1972, NASA is preparing to keep humans on the moon for a longer period of time and envisions it as a transit station for sending astronauts to Mars. NASA official Lisa Watson-Morgan (Lisa Watson-Morgan) said SpaceX will be required to conduct an unmanned test flight of the lander to the moon before a manned flight.


NASA originally expected to award the lunar lander contract to the two companies before the end of April, but in fact it only chose SpaceX, which deepened the cooperation between them. The agency’s goal is to establish regular round-trip services to the moon. NASA Deputy Director of Advanced Exploration Systems, Mark Kirasich (Mark Kirasich) said: “We must be able to provide repetitive services to the moon.”


Kathy Lueders, deputy director of NASA's Human Exploration and Action Mission Council, said that one of the factors in choosing SpaceX was "what is most valuable to the government." The agency stated in a press release that SpaceX's interstellar spacecraft will be used to land on the moon, "We rely on the company's tested Raptor engines, Falcon rockets and the flight system of the manned dragon spacecraft."


NASA's decision was a setback for Bezos, who claimed to be a space enthusiast. He announced in February that he would resign as CEO of Amazon and focus more on his space business. Bezos and other company executives believe that this contract is essential for Blue Origin to establish itself as NASA's ideal partner, and it is also the key to making this company on the path to profitability.


Musk previously outlined SpaceX and its reusable rocket's ambitious goals, including helping humans get to Mars. But in the short term, SpaceX's main business has always been to launch satellites for Musk's Starlink Internet business, as well as launch other satellites and space payloads. SpaceX announced on Wednesday that it has raised approximately US$1.16 billion through equity financing, and the company's valuation has reached US$74 billion. (Little)



Source: NetEase Technology Report, translated by Google Translate

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