Project Artemis, NASA’s long-awaited plan for sending astronauts to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo Era, has taken many steps forward. Aside from the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), the Orion spacecraft, and the elements that will make up the Lunar Gateway, NASA recently awarded SpaceX with the contract to build the Human Landing System (HLS) that will transport astronauts to the lunar surface.
However, this decision didn’t sit well with the other two companies NASA was also considering. These included Blue Origin, the commercial space company founded by Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos, and Alabama-based aerospace company Dynetics. After protests were filed by both companies, NASA decided to issue a stop-work order on the HLS award to SpaceX while it reviews the complaints.
As part of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2), NASA announced the selection of these three companies to develop HLS concepts back in April of 2020. The three companies were issued fixed-price contracts with a combined value of $967 million for a 10-month base period, during which time, NASA experts worked with each to help bring their concepts to fruition.
The three top HLS concepts for ...