NASA announces renewed competition for moon mission contracts

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NASA on Wednesday said it will soon add another company to its moon mission roster, which currently only consists of a contract with SpaceX, The New York Times reports.

NASA Administrator Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA announces renewed competition for moon mission contracts Hillicon Valley — Semiconductor operations halt in Japan Nelson: NASA cooperating with Russian colleagues despite tensions MORE said the agency will soon allow companies to compete to develop a second lunar lander. Due to funding issues, NASA has only inked a contract with SpaceX, the space exploration company owned by Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskNASA announces renewed competition for moon mission contracts Equilibrium/Sustainability — Students create filter to remove lead from tap water On The Money — White House previews new sanctions on Russia MORE.

“I promised competition,” Nelson said, “so here it is.” 

The two companies would work in conjunction with one another to further space development, he added.

“These are not isolated missions. Each is going to build on the past progress.”

Rival space exploration companies, including Amazon founder Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosNASA announces renewed competition for moon mission contracts MacKenzie Scott says she has donated nearly B to non-profit organizations MacKenzie Scott makes largest donation since vow to give away most of her wealth MORE‘s Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics, will now have another shot at a NASA partnership. SpaceX previously beat out the two companies after they reportedly submitted more costly proposals to NASA.

In statements to the Times, Dynetics said the company was “pleased to learn of NASA’s plans,” while Blue Origin said it was “thrilled that NASA is creating competition by procuring a second human lunar landing system.”

NASA has only recently sought lunar landing vessels from private corporations instead of developing them themselves. The newer system, which involves a fixed-price contract where private companies do the developing, comes at a lower price point, notes the Times.

Blue Origin has made headlines in recent months by shipping various high-profile people into space, including “Star Trek” actor William Shatner and former professional American football star turned television personality Michael Strahan. 

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