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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

NASA kicks off development of next lunar lander

Five companies have been tapped by NASA to develop concepts and other requirements for what the space agency calls “sustainable human landing systems.”

This group of broad agency announcement awards totals $146 million, which was divided among some very familiar companies in the new space race.

Winners and values of individual awards are:

  • Blue Origin ($25.6 million)
  • Dynetics ($40.8 million)
  • Lockheed Martin ($35.2 million)
  • Northrop Grumman ($34.8 million)
  • SpaceX ($9.4 million)

Awardees will develop lander design concepts and evaluate the performance of the concepts. NASA also wants the companies' help in design, construction standards, mission assurance requirements, interfaces, safety, crew health and medical capabilities.

The work will help shape NASA’s strategy and requirements for a future contract to regularly transport astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon.

While sounding similar, this BAA is a separate effort from the $2.89 billion contract that went to SpaceX to build a lunar lander. That contract is under protest by Blue Origin, which has taken its case to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

This new set of agreements is to further mature lander technologies and create what NASA calls “robust lunar economy while exploring new areas of the Moon for generations to come.”

Worth noting: three of the five winners were teammates that together competed for the contract won by SpaceX. Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were part of the Blue Origin-led "National Team."

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 15, 2021 at 10:35 AM

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