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NASA awards SpaceX contract modification for missions beyond Artemis III

Moon. Credit: NASA

Edinburgh, 17 November 2022. – SpaceX was awarded a NASA contract modification, Option B, to further develop its Starship human landing system to meet agency requirements for long-term human exploration of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, NASA said. According to the modification, SpaceX will conduct a second crewed landing demonstration in 2027 as part of the Artemis IV mission.

SpaceX was originally awarded the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Appendix H Option A contract by NASA in July 2021. Under this, SpaceX was to develop a human lunar landing system as part of Artemis III, and conduct an uncrewed demonstration prior to the mission. The modification of this original contract, Option B, has a value of approximately US $1.15 billion.

Under the new contract, SpaceX is required to demonstrate that the Starship lunar lander meets NASA’s requirements for missions beyond Artemis III. This includes the ability to dock with Gateway and and delivering more mass to the surface, as well as accommodating four crew members.

NASA released another solicitation for human lunar landers earlier this year, NextSTEP-2 Appendix P. The latter is open to all US companies – other than SpaceX – to develop additional human landing system capabilities.

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