NASA on Thursday selected space firms SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics to build lunar landing systems that can carry astronauts to the moon by 2024, the White House`s accelerated deadline under the space agency`s moon-to-Mars campaign. The three companies, which include firms of tech billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, will share $967 million from NASA, though specific amounts each company will receive were not immediately known. Boeing Co proposed a lander concept last year but was not selected. “This is the last piece that we need in order to get to the moon,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters on Thursday, calling the agency`s first lunar lander procurement since 1972 “historic”. Unlike the Apollo program that put astronauts on the moon nearly 50 years ago, NASA is gearing up for a long-term presence on Earth`s satellite that the agency says will eventually enable humans to reach Mars, leaning heavily on private companies built around shared visions for space exploration. Picking three providers allows NASA to have redundancy in case one company falls behind in development, Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA`s human landing system program manager, told reporters on Thursday. “I think we`ve got the potential for an incredibly exciting future in… Read full this story
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