NASA chooses SpaceX for Human Lander System contract

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Space enthusiasts look at a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft at the company’s Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. The Starship spacecraft is a massive vehicle meant to take people to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

NASA announced that SpaceX beat out Dynetics and Blue Origin for the contract to build the next spacecraft to land humans on the surface of the Moon.

Humans have not stepped foot on the Moon since 1972 and a key component to meeting that goal is the Human Lander System. This is the ship that would transport astronauts from the Orion capsule or the Gateway in orbit around the moon.

According to Lisa Watson-Morgan, the program manager of NASA’s Human Landing System, part of the reason SpaceX’s Starship was chosen was their proposal included an in space propellant transfer demonstration and an uncrewed test landing.

Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt released the following statement after the announcement was made in favor of SpaceX and not Huntsville-based company, Dynetics.

“America’s space program is extremely important to me and returning Americans to the surface of the moon is a top priority.  However, NASA’s award decision today raises a lot of questions.  NASA and the U.S. Air Force recently agreed to very high SpaceX prices, several times the price on the company’s web site, for a launch of Gateway elements, and for national security payloads.  The years of delay in the development of the Falcon Heavy, as well as recent tests of the Starship program as reported in the news, also raise technical and scheduling questions.  Given the importance of our space program to our national security, I will be asking NASA a number of questions about today’s announcement and about their management of the program.” 

Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04)

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