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Blue Origin, SpaceX Win NASA Awards to Develop Further Lunar Lander Concepts 

By | September 15, 2021

Artist concept of Artemis astronaut stepping onto the Moon. Photo: NASA

NASA has awarded five companies contracts to mature sustainable lunar landing concepts as part of its Artemis program, the agency announced Tuesday. 

Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Blue Origin, and SpaceX received firm fixed-price, milestone-based contracts that are worth a combined $146 million. This awards fall under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2). The selected will develop lander design concepts, evaluate their performance, design, construction standards, mission assurance requirements, interfaces, safety, crew health accommodations, and medical capabilities.

These awards are separate from the Human Landing System (HLS) contract SpaceX won in April for $2.9 billion. SpaceX is set to buid the first lunar lander under this contract. Blue Origin has protested the HLS award, and litigation is ongoing. 

Dynetics, a Leidos company, won the largest award with $40.8 million; followed by Lockheed Martin with $35.2 million; Northrop Grumman with $34.8 million; Blue Origin with $25.6 million; and SpaceX with $9.4 million. 

“Establishing a long-term human presence on the Moon through recurring services using lunar landers is a major Artemis goal,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations. “This critical step lays the foundation for U.S. leadership in learning more about the Moon and for learning how to live and work in deep space for future missions farther into the solar system.”