SpaceX Will be Flying Cargo to the Moon
With a goal of one day establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon, NASA works on Project Artemis in hopes of sending astronauts to the moon, according to Universe Today. One of the main objectives of the project is the Lunar Gateway. Serving as an orbiting habitat, the Lunar Gateway will grant astronauts access to suitable living conditions, allowing longer-duration missions to take place. Now, NASA’s Gateway Logistics Services program granted SpaceX its first contract, tasking the company to eventually transport cargo, experiments, samples, and supplies to and from the Lunar Gateway. The GLS program pays a maximum of $7 billion for all commercial contracts and missions, and promises two missions per launch provider as part of the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity agreement. Supply missions are predicted to last twice as long as normal logistical support missions, possibly lasting up to 12 months each. Overall, the GLS contract grants NASA the power to request missions up to 12 years in length, all within a 15-year performance period, fueling competition.
SpaceX’s contract is not the company’s first project with NASA, as previous projects included Commerical Resupply Services to the International Space Station, and a contract with Boeing for NASA’s Commercial Crew Vehicle.
Dan Hartman, the Gateway program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said, “We’re making significant progress moving from our concept of the Gateway to reality. Bringing a logistics provider onboard ensures we can transport all the critical supplies we need for the Gateway and on the lunar surface to do research and technology demonstrations in space that we can’t do anywhere else. We also anticipate performing a variety of research on and within the logistics module.”