NASA chose SpaceX to build a lunar lander that will eventually put the first woman and person of color on the surface of the moon.
The announcement came a few hours after most of SpaceX’s international astronaut crew arrived in Florida to take off next week.
The Elon Musk spacecraft – a futuristic shiny steel rocket vehicle launched and exploding in Texas – outperformed the landers proposed by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos, for a contract worth $ 2.89 billion (£ 2.1 billion).
“We’re not going to stop at the moon,” said Acting NASA Administrator Steve Gorshik, adding that Mars was the ultimate goal.
NASA declined to give a specific date for the launch of the Artemis lunar landing mission, saying the review was underway.
The Trump administration had set a deadline of 2024, but NASA officials Friday called it a goal.
“We’ll do it when it’s safe,” said Cathy Louders, who leads NASA’s office to explore human space.
She noted that NASA and SpaceX are filming later this decade.
The astronauts will fly to the moon on NASA’s Orion capsule, then travel to Starship in lunar orbit for a ride to the surface and back.
NASA has said that at least one of the first walkers on the moon’s surface since 1972 will be the first woman on the moon’s surface, while the other goal of the program is to send a person of color to the surface of the moon.
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