NASA picks SpaceX, Blue Origin, Dynetics to put astronauts on the Moon in 2024

Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk firms selected for NASA's return to the Moon

NASA picked Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the Leidos firm Dynetics to design and develop equipment for a program that aims to return humans to the Moon by 2024.

Continue Reading Below

The companies’ contracts for NASA’s Artemis program are worth a combined $967 million for the 10-month base period, NASA announced Thursday.

Blue Origin is developing the three-stage lander called the “integrated lander vehicle” that will be launched on its New Glenn Rocket System and ULA Vulcan launch system, according to NASA.

Artist concept of the Blue Origin National Team crewed lander on the surface of the Moon. (Blue Origin via NASA)

SPACEX CEO ELON MUSK TO LAUNCH ANOTHER STARLINK SATELLITE INTO SPACE

The Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics is developing the “Dynetics Human Landing System,” which will be a single structure for both ascent and descent launched on the ULA Vulcan launch system, NASA said.

Artist concept of the Dynetics Human Landing System on the surface of the Moon. (Dynetics via NASA)

SPACEX TO LAUNCH NASA ASTRONAUTS IN HISTORIC MISSION

SpaceX is developing the Starship, a fully-integrated lander that will use the company’s Super Heavy rocket, according to NASA.

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (SpaceX via NASA)

SPACE RACE: THE NEXT TRILLION-DOLLAR ECONOMY?

“With these contract awards, America is moving forward with the final step needed to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, including the incredible moment when we will see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a written statement. “This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system, and now we have companies on contract to do the work for the Artemis program.”

The three contractors will refine their lander concepts between now and February 2021. NASA will evaluate the companies’ demonstration missions and later select which it wants “for development and maturation of sustainable lander systems” that it will eventually buy for transportation to the lunar surface, according to the agency.

CLICK HERE TO GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO

The program is intended to “reveal new knowledge about the Moon, Earth and our origins in the solar system,” according to NASA. The agency also has plans to use the Moon as a jumping-off point for further exploration, including an eventual mission to Mars.

In the shorter term, SpaceX is scheduled to become the first private company to fly American astronauts into space next month when astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley ride aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. That launch is scheduled for May 27.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS