NASA Orders Second SpaceX Crewed Lunar Landing

NASA is awarding SpaceX $1.15 billion for SpaceX to provide a second crewed landing demonstration mission in 2027 as part of NASA’s Artemis IV mission.

“Returning astronauts to the Moon to learn, live, and work is a bold endeavor. With multiple planned landers, from SpaceX and future partners, NASA will be better positioned to accomplish the missions of tomorrow: conducting more science on the surface of the Moon than ever before and preparing for crewed missions to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Known as Option B, the modification follows an award to SpaceX in July 2021 under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Appendix H Option A contract. NASA previously announced plans to pursue this Option B with SpaceX. The contract modification has a value of about $1.15 billion.

Option B is to develop and demonstrate a Starship lunar lander that meets NASA’s sustaining requirements for missions beyond Artemis III, including docking with Gateway, accommodating four crew members, and delivering more mass to the surface.

NASA initially selected SpaceX to develop a human landing system variant of Starship to land the next American astronauts on the Moon under Artemis III, which will mark humanity’s first return to the lunar surface in more than 50 years. As part of that contract, SpaceX will also conduct an uncrewed demonstration mission to the Moon prior to Artemis III.

4 thoughts on “NASA Orders Second SpaceX Crewed Lunar Landing”

  1. Seems like a recognition that SpaceX will be left with a complete Lunar transport system after it’s first crewed Artemis mission with SLS Orion. It will have the Polaris/Dear Moon crewed Starship, Two HLS Lander Starships and a proven Tanker/Cargo/Depot system for propellant refills and getting cargo to the moon.

    NASA could establish a lunar base or anything else it wants to do on the moon just by paying SpaceX to use it. SpaceX might well have other paying clients for it by that point too.

    SpaceX’s system would of course have no use for SLS/Orion or a Gateway station.

    • Agreed. They will be able to do a full cislunar insertion, lunar landing and return with SpaceX hardware only, sans the political compromise of an Orion/SLS or a Gateway.

      Makes a lot of sense to just reserve another slot for NASA’s own missions.

      And that capability will be available for anyone else with the coin. Space agencies and companies abroad should be able to organize their own lunar trips.

    • You’re so right. I guess, it’s not the number difficult, but providing a safe shelter for astronauts, it would!
      Probably, a little cute shuttle would also be nice to have, to wonder around the landing site. The mother ship sure will have enough space to bring along a lot of useful to have things.

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