NASA announced Friday that it has chosen SpaceX for its scheduled trip to Europe, the icy moon of Jupiter, a major victory for billionaire Elon Musk’s company that aims to venture further into the solar system.
The Europa Clipper mission will be launched in October 2024 with a Heavy Falcon fusée From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The contract amount is $178 million.
The orbiter will have to make 40 to 50 close passes around Europe to determine if this icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. The probe is set to conduct a detailed study of the ice-covered Jovian satellite, which is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and is a major candidate in the search for life elsewhere in the solar system.
The contract is a sign of trust by NASA in Hawthorne, California, the company that has transported many payloads and astronauts to NASA’s International Space Station in recent years, he notes. Reuters.
In April, SpaceX won a $2.9 billion contract to build a lunar landing spacecraft for a planned Artemis program that would bring NASA astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972. But that contract was put on hold after two competing space companies, Jeff Blue Origin protested and defense contractor Dynetics Inc from Bezos on selecting SpaceX.
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