Washington, 1 May 2020 (dpa/MIA) – NASA has named three companies to design and develop human landing systems (HLS), one of which is scheduled to land on the moon in 2024, the space agency said in a statement on Thursday.
The three US companies – SpaceX, Dynetics and Blue Origin – will compete to build the coveted HLS that will be used in NASA’s Artemis Programme.
The statement said the combined value for all awarded contracts totalled 967 million dollars for the initial 10-month period.
NASA had previously said in 2019 the first company to complete its HLS will “carry astronauts to the surface in 2024,” and the second company will “land in 2025.”
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the contracts were “the final step” needed to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024.
Bridenstine announced the “big news” on Twitter, showcasing all three designs in a series of tweets.
More than 12,000 people have applied to become astronauts in NASA’s new Artemis programme, the space agency said in early April.
The new astronaut candidates are expected to be announced in the summer of 2021.
The mission would mark more than 50 years since humans last went into lunar orbit.
The Artemis Programme is preparing the human missions to the moon as a possible launching pad for a mission to Mars in 2028.