The US Aerospace Agency is preparing to send astronauts to explore most of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. For this task, NASA selected Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is currently developing the first commercial lander for a two-man crew. One of the astronauts will go down in history as the first woman on the moon.
The Space Launch System is supposed to launch the Orion spacecraft into lunar orbit with four astronauts on board. There, two crew members will transfer to a manned Human Landing System (HLS) vehicle for the final leg of their journey to the moon. On the surface of the Earth satellite, they will spend two weeks, where they will conduct research. Then the astronauts will board the lander and go back to orbit, after which they will return to Earth with their colleagues. The contract amount is $ 2.89 billion.
SpaceX works closely with NASA throughout the HLS to provide information on the lander’s design and to ensure that it meets the space agency’s requirements for manned space flight performance and standards. SpaceX’s Starship, designed to fly to the moon, will use the company’s proven Raptor engines, as well as the expertise of the Falcon and Dragon. This huge rocket has a spacious cockpit and two airlocks for astronauts to exit to the lunar surface. The Starship architecture provides for a reusable launch and landing system for flights to the Moon, Mars and other planets.
Along with this, NASA plans to carry out another competition for the services of transporting a crew to the moon. It is assumed that the winner will have to provide people with access to the surface of the Earth satellite using the lunar Gateway station on a regular basis. There, the US agency wants to build habitats, test new power systems, perfect landing technologies, and develop other possibilities for exploring the moon. All this should prepare for the next big step – the exploration of Mars.