At the end of April NASA announced that it had awarded contracts to three commercial teams, each of which will develop a human landing system for use by the space agency’s Artemis program. Artemis aims to put two astronauts down near the moon’s south pole in 2024 and establish a sustainable presence on and around Earth’s natural satellite by the late 2020s.
The funding will come from a $967 million pot split between the 3 of them to fund 10 months of development work after which they will choose one of them to mature their systems with the ultimate goal being lunar transportation services. The three companies consist of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Dynetics and a team from Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. The race is now on to produce the most successful project and we will be watching with interest.
Commercial space companies have sped up the progress of space travel significantly over the years with companies using their own money to fund projects as well as contributions from NASA. It will be interesting to see the result of the 10 month project and who gets to progress theirs further, will it be SpaceX with their Starship Megarocket.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created an interesting situation where Elon Musk has been very vocal regarding the social distancing rules threatening to move his entire company to Texas because of the Californian rules. NASA of course have taken the rules very seriously and have a large proportion of their workforce working from home, when asked if NASA had any views on Elon’s behaviour and if it would affect their relationship with them their response was they would have to see what was said before making a decision. It is clear they favour his input as the reporter who asked the question in the press conference was told by a voice which was they assumed to be Elon’s to move on as this wasn’t the right press conference for discussing that issue.
Elon is no stranger to courting controversy on social media and it seems relishes in creating a reaction from his audience. Recently talking to Joe Rogan it became painfully obvious that he either cared a lot about what people thought of him (although hes a billionaire I cant see he would be) or simply enjoys getting a reaction out of people, the recent tweets about selling material possessions has prompted a furore of people debating whether he may be losing his mind. Although he has also recently had a baby so between that and COVID-19 virus you could also put it down to stress levels.
I cannot wait to see what developments come along with regards to moon travel so I will be watching this space with great interest. What do you think about space travel? Let me know in the comments below or join the conversation at facebook.com/onlynomeswriting or twitter.com/onlynomesforyou