NASA hopes to return humans to the lunar surface under Artemis sooner than later, and the agency announced plans today to create additional opportunities for commercial companies to develop an astronaut Moon lander. American companies are set to propose lander concepts capable of transporting astronauts between lunar orbit and the lunar surface for missions beyond Artemis III, which will land the first astronauts on the Moon in over 5 decades. Read more for a video and additional information.
This second contract is officially called “Sustaining Lunar Development” and will be combined with the second option under SpaceX’s original landing award. Once the draft solicitation is published, NASA will host a virtual industry day before issuing the formal request for proposals this summer. The agency is currently pursuing two paths simultaneously for continuing lunar lander development and demonstration, with the first calling for additional work under an existing contract with SpaceX, and another open to all other U.S. companies.
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Under Artemis, NASA will carry out a series of groundbreaking missions on and around the Moon to prepare for the next giant leap for humanity: a crewed mission to Mars. Competition is critical to our success on the lunar surface and beyond, ensuring we have the capability to carry out a cadence of missions over the next decade. Thank you to the Biden Administration and Congress for their support of this new astronaut lander opportunity, which will ultimately strengthen and increase flexibility for Artemis,” said Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator.