NASA suspends its controversial lunar lander project with SpaceX

NASA suspends its controversial lunar lander project with SpaceX

NASA has halted the lunar lander project, the deal of which was won by SpaceX, claiming claims of two rival companies failed.

This should be a step in the course of Artemis’ plan to prepare astronauts to return to the moon by 2024. But the process of selecting the lander responsible for carrying astronauts to the surface is a natural satellite of the Earth. Suspended now, After complaints from two non-selected candidate companies.

The U.S. space agency (NASA) announced a break in this section of the space program this weekend, following disagreements that Blue Origin and Dynamics reported to the Office of Government Accountability equivalent to the U.S. Auditor General’s Office. . Both plaintiffs deny the conditions under which NASA selected SpaceX, only SpaceX.

NASA has detained a lunar lander for cheating SpaceX rivals. // Source: Lee Stonehouse

One or two moon landers?

Remember the facts. As part of the Artemis program, NASA plans to trust private service providers to make this visit to the moon. Among the proposed contracts, there is a lander responsible for depositing employees on the ground. Call for applications Opened In 2019 and three companies are to be decided: SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynamics. They Announced April 30, 2020.

The result of this selection process comes in mid-April: NASA announces single winner SpaceX. The US company has won the most important contract worth $ 2.9 billion.

This is where things go wrong. NASA explained that its selection was based on various parameters, including the budget criteria. The space agency said two winners could be selected depending on the quality of the proposed projects. However, the United States Congress paid only $ 850 million of the $ 3.3 billion he was asking for to own two moon landlords.

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Based on these financial constraints, NASA has reduced its objectives and maintained a launcher: SpaceX. However, with regard to Blue Origin and Dynamics, Nara should have reconsidered the call for tenders when it became known that there would not be enough funds to sustain the two projects. Both failed candidates may have revised their offer to join SpaceX.

« NASA moved the goal posts at the last minute “The reported blue appearance was believed to have changed the terms of the exam without warning and without allocating time to the challenges. He also warned NASA that ” America’s return to the moon in danger “, By losing at least one private service provider.

SN10 Starship
SN10 test. // Source: SpaceX

The administrative interference of NASA’s operations around the future lunar lander, on the SpaceX side, should not have a negative impact in the short term. The company will continue its aerial tests in any case, especially if it succeeds in properly reducing its prototypes. Several models have been used in recent months, but the exact formula has not been found.

However, this may change with the SN15 test, which follows the SN11 (SN12, SN13 and SN14 were not used in this context, but were used for engineering tests). According to Elon Musk, the SN15 marks a significant improvement in the design of the starship, Hundreds of architecture, avionics, software and machine upgrades It is for him to pass through his fiery baptism.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

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