SpaceX fetches big NASA contract to fly cargo to the Moon
Washington : Last year, NASA had asked out companies who would want to deliver cargo to a proposed station in orbit around the Moon, called the Lunar Gateway. On Friday, NASA notified that SpaceX has won the "Gateway Logistics" contract.
SpaceX has proposed using its Falcon Heavy rocket to deliver a modified version of its Dragon spacecraft, called Dragon XL, to the Lunar Gateway. It has been revealed that the rocket will remain docked at the Gateway for a year before "autonomous" disposal.
"This contract award is another critical piece of our plan to return to the Moon sustainably,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a news release. "The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis architecture, and this deep space commercial cargo capability integrates yet another American industry partner into our plans for human exploration at the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars."
NASA has set aside a total of $7 billion over a period of 12 to 15 years for logistics supply and is expected to eventually select at least one more company for commercial delivery services. Each selected company is guaranteed a total of two missions.
NASA chose SpaceX as the safest option as its Falcon Heavy and Dragon cargo spacecraft have flown multiple missions. SpaceX's past experience of working with NASA on developing a cargo capability to space since 2006 worked in its favour.