Americans are returning to the Moon in 2024, which means NASA’s already planning for what it needs to get astronauts safely there.
On Thursday, the space agency announced that three U.S. partners will coordinate to deliver human landing system concepts for the lunar mission known as the Artemis program. That mission, which aims to land the first woman on the Moon, will help the agency to prepare for an eventual Mars trip.
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space transportation company, and Blue Origin, founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, were selected along with Dynetics, an Alabama-based company known for its reusable air systems.
Blue Origin will be designing a lander vehicle that will launch from its New Glenn rocket system and the ULA Vulcan launch vehicle. While SpaceX’s Starship, a reusable launch vehicle, will work with the company’s Super Heavy rocket booster to get humans to the Moon and help deliver cargo to its surface.
For the Artemis program, Starship will be modified for the lunar landscape. SpaceX will also be providing several Starships tailored for different purposes: One will store propellant, another will act as a tanker, while another will transport humans between different locations.
Now that NASA’s private suppliers have been officially selected, we’re one step closer to bringing humans back to the Moon.