NASA on Friday picked a brand new area capsule from Elon Musk’s SpaceX to ferry cargo and provides to the company’s deliberate lunar area station, a vital constructing block to its plans to construct a everlasting publish on the moon and mount future missions to Mars.
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SpaceX will get a portion of a $7 billion NASA contract to make use of its largest rocket, Falcon Heavy, to ship a brand new “Dragon XL” spacecraft to the Lunar Gateway, an outpost NASA plans to construct that can orbit the moon someday throughout the subsequent decade.
The Dragon XL spacecraft, the newest variant in Musk’s lineup of so-called Dragon cargo and astronaut capsules, will carry analysis provides that can assist future astronauts on the floor of the moon accumulate lunar samples, a NASA announcement mentioned.
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The Dragon variant, which might be docked on the orbital station for six to 12 months per mission, is “optimised to carry more than 5 metric tons of cargo to Gateway in lunar orbit,” mentioned SpaceX in a tweet.
The monetary worth of the award was not given. However it indicators a key growth within the US area company’s Artemis program to return to the moon – unveiled by Vice President Mike Pence a yr in the past this week — and offers a win for Musk’s area firm as it really works to launch its debut manned mission to area this summer time.