NASA awards moon lander contracts to Blue Origin and SpaceX

Polycount

Posts: 2,557   +553
Staff member

As part of the program, one of these human landing systems (HLS) will be used to deliver the "first woman and next man" to the Moon's surface within the next four years: an ambitious time frame, but one NASA's funding should make possible. Blue Origin received a $579 million contract, whereas SpaceX received a smaller $135 million contract. The total cash pool is $967 million, and the remainder ($253 million) went toward the lesser-known Dynetics.

Blue Origin's HLS will be a three-stage lander, which will use the "New Glenn Rocket System" and the "ULA Vulcan launch system" to take off. Dynetics is developing a "single structure" that also uses the ULA Vulcan launch system. SpaceX will continue development on its Starship, a "fully integrated" lander that will be built-in to the company's Super Heavy rocket.

Each contract's "base period" will run until February 2021, and based on each company's progress, NASA will select one to perform "initial demonstration missions." Beyond funding, NASA will be providing other forms of support to each participating company, including design assistance, analysis, and testing capabilities.

We look forward to seeing how the Artemis program progresses over the next few years, and we can't wait to see humanity return to the surface of the Moon once more.

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tkabou

Posts: 123   +136
So now Amazon's Bezos can finally stop crying he didn't get the Pentagon's cloud project.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
Lulz, maybe they gave him the contract with the stipulation that he takes the first one way trip to the moon.
Too Close, way too close. I would prefer they have him take on something more ambitious like the first landing on ..... the sun!
 

JB3543

Posts: 50   +49
Boeing can sit in front of the TV watching old reruns of its prior successes. And feed its ever-growing cottage cheese ***.

Bye bye, Has-Beens...
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,633   +926
"Blue Origin received a $579 million contract, whereas SpaceX received a smaller $135 million contract. The total cash pool is $967 million, and the remainder ($253 million) went toward the lesser-known Dynetics."

So why is Dynetics receiving second-class press treatment if they over $100 million more than SpaceX for development? The amounts of these R&D contracts usually represents NASA's confidence in the company successfully creating a design that will worth considering when they down select. Either SpaceX asked for less money to perform their R&D, which seems unlikely to me, or NASA felt they had the weakest proposal of the three who were awarded the contract.
 

mosu

Posts: 541   +162
I'm ready to bet that the first company to fulfill its part would be SpaceX and Dynetics would be late and ask for more money...my guess.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,633   +926
I'm ready to bet that the first company to fulfill its part would be SpaceX and Dynetics would be late and ask for more money...my guess.
That's not how this contract works. Or really any government contract.

For an R&D one, such as this, there is no extra money. You either come up with a design, or you run out of money. There is no 'asking for more' with an R&D contract, not without you being the sole developer and it being a very high priority contract. As I said above, money is dolled out as a mixture of the company's proposal when they submit their bid for the contract, and how the agency chooses to break up the money they've been given by congress. They can give it all to one company, they could give it to a dozen - usually its 2-4 companies, with the strongest proposals getting the most funding.

The contracts you can ask for more on are production ones, and those have pieces. A prime will be selected, and then they are expected to split the work up amongst sub contractors that the prime manages. If the contract runs out of money, then they can ask for more.

Tl;dr - SpaceX does not have the strongest proposal for this contract. They, in fact, most likely are the weakest of the three. Doesn't mean they won't build and fly a lander - they probably will - just means NASA probably isn't expecting to select SpaceX for the production contract, and SpaceX just wanted some government money to fund some of the development for the lander they do build.
 

mosu

Posts: 541   +162
It looks like you know more on the subject and you might be right, I was just speculating on former NASA contracts, but time will tell...
 

mosu

Posts: 541   +162
That's not how this contract works. Or really any government contract.

For an R&D one, such as this, there is no extra money. You either come up with a design, or you run out of money. There is no 'asking for more' with an R&D contract, not without you being the sole developer and it being a very high priority contract. As I said above, money is dolled out as a mixture of the company's proposal when they submit their bid for the contract, and how the agency chooses to break up the money they've been given by congress. They can give it all to one company, they could give it to a dozen - usually its 2-4 companies, with the strongest proposals getting the most funding.

The contracts you can ask for more on are production ones, and those have pieces. A prime will be selected, and then they are expected to split the work up amongst sub contractors that the prime manages. If the contract runs out of money, then they can ask for more.

Tl;dr - SpaceX does not have the strongest proposal for this contract. They, in fact, most likely are the weakest of the three. Doesn't mean they won't build and fly a lander - they probably will - just means NASA probably isn't expecting to select SpaceX for the production contract, and SpaceX just wanted some government money to fund some of the development for the lander they do build.
Mock-up vs prototype, I wonder who is most advanced. See this link: https://wccftech.com/spacex-prototype-nasa-moon-lander/