NASA has awarded a contract worth $2.9 billion to Elon Musk’s space transportation services company SpaceX that will involve building a spacecraft to send astronauts to the moon by 2024.
SpaceX won the contract over defense contractor Dynetics and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. This first commercial lander will take two US astronauts to the moon, said NASA.
In the inception of the first human mission to Mars, this contract is part of NASA’s Artemis program, and if the milestones are met, the goal would come to fruition in 2024.
In a tweet, Musk responded “NASA Rules!!” to acknowledge the achievement.
SpaceX’s Starship makes use of the company’s Raptor engines alongside Dragon vehicle and Falcon 9 designs. Additionally, there includes architecture that can evolve into a reusable landing system, a spacious cabin, and two airlocks for astronaut moonwalks.
The landing would have a longer-term lunar presence as compared to all the Apollo landings from 1969 to 1972. The two astronauts will have a week-long exploration and they will be the first people to walk on the moon in the past five decades.