The deal for Artemis program is the latest in SpaceX’s and NASA’s relationship.

Artist rendering of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft on the Moon's surface.
SapceX

SpaceX is going to the Moon at least one more time. Last week, NASA formalized a deal with the company that will send astronauts to the lunar surface by the decade’s end. This mission will be the second such carried out by SpaceX. Both endeavors are part of NASA’s Artemis program.

Last year, the American space agency granted SpaceX the contract to participate in the lunar voyage. It’s our first real trip to the Moon since Apollo 17 took Gene Cernan and Ronald Evans to the surface of Earth’s only natural satellite. SpaceX will reportedly use a modified version of its Starship spacecraft for the voyage.

The first mission in the Artemis program launched this week. However, no astronauts were on board the SLS rocket that took off for the Moon on Thursday. The automated spaceflight will take Artemis I on a flyby of the Moon to test critical technology to return humans there. Artemis II, scheduled for 2024, will have a crew onboard for another flyby.

Then in 2025, Artemis III will land on the lunar surface with astronauts onboard. Marking humankind’s return to planetoids beyond Earth for the first time in over half a century. And if the trend continues, SpaceX will be the primary vehicle to transport them there.

Source: Digital Trends



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