SpaceX has received a potential $1.15 billion contract modification from NASA to continue development work on its Starship human landing system and provide a second manned demonstration landing on the moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program.
NASA said Tuesday the Option B modification was awarded under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 Appendix H broad agency announcement.
In April 2021, SpaceX won a potential $2.89 billion contract from NASA to further develop the Starship HLS that would transport astronauts to the lunar surface.
Under Option B, the company will build and demonstrate Starship to meet the space agency’s sustaining requirements for transporting four crew members, docking with the Gateway lunar outpost and performing other missions beyond Artemis III. The second demo landing mission for Artemis IV is expected to occur in 2027.
“Continuing our collaborative efforts with SpaceX through Option B furthers our resilient plans for regular crewed transportation to the lunar surface and establishing a long-term human presence under Artemis,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager for the HLS program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
“This critical work will help us focus on the development of sustainable, service-based lunar landers anchored to NASA’s requirements for regularly recurring missions to the lunar surface,” she added.
In September, NASA started soliciting proposals to build additional human landing capabilities and perform manned and uncrewed demonstration missions to the lunar surface as part of NextSTEP-2 Appendix P.