The next time astronauts land on the moon, they will ride to the lunar surface in a spacecraft that looks a lot different than the Apollo-era landing module last used in 1972. Lander concepts proposed by SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics — which won a combined $967 million in NASA funding Thursday — take wildly different approaches to carrying crews to the moon.
SpaceX is eligible to propose using its next-generation Starship vehicle to carry NASA robotic science payloads to the lunar surface, the U.S. space agency announced Monday, on missions that could precede future Starship flights with people on-board. SpaceX is one of five companies NASA selected Monday to join a roster of commercial transportation providers to deliver scientific instruments and technology demonstration packages to the moon as soon as 2022.
Engineers working for Spaceflight, a Seattle-based launch services company, are in the final steps of preparing for the first launch of new robotic free flyers carrying more than 70 small government and commercial satellites into polar orbit later this year aboard a dedicated flight of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
An atmospheric test article of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dream Chaser spaceship made a successful runway landing Saturday at Edwards Air Force Base in California after a glide test flight performed to verify the craft’s handling qualities and guidance systems before future resupply missions to the International Space Station.
Sierra Nevada and United Launch Alliance have announced the most powerful version of the Atlas 5 rocket, with five strap-on boosters and a twin-engine upper stage, will send the first two Dream Chaser cargo missions to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in 2020 and 2021, a schedule that still must be confirmed by NASA.