The US space agency NASA announced on Friday that the contract for the construction of a spacecraft, which is to send astronauts to the moon in 2024, will be given to the company SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
In the competition for a contract worth nearly $ 3 billion, SpaceX defeated Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin and Dynetics.
The Americans plan to send two astronauts to the Moon in 2024. "We should bring about the next landing (on the moon) as soon as possible," NASA chief Steve Jurczyk said on Friday.
Before flying with astronauts, it will be necessary to make a test flight to the moon.
NASA representative Mark Kirasich said the agency hopes that all three companies that competed for the contract will continue to compete for transportation to the moon. The goal - as he emphasized - are "regularly recurring" flights to Earth's satellites.
NASA said in a statement that the HLS SpaceX spacecraft is to land on the moon, which "relies on the company's tested Raptor engines and the flight experience of Falcon and Dragon vehicles." The ship has a spacious cabin and two airlocks that will be used by astronauts to go out to the moon. It is to be constructed so that it can also be used to travel to Mars.
Musk outlined an ambitious program for SpaceX, including landing of astronauts on the red planet. In May, his company was the first private entity in history to launch humans into space on a rocket at the International Space Station (ISS).
Unlike the 1969-1972 moon landings, NASA is now gearing up for a longer presence on this satellite. This is seen as the first step towards sending astronauts to Mars (PAP).