Funding breakdown for three lunar landing contracts

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Capitalism in space: The contracts awarded by NASA yesterday to build manned lunar landers totaled almost a billion dollars, distributed as follows:

  • Blue Origin: $579 million
  • Dynetics: $253 million
  • SpaceX: $135 million

That Blue Origin got the biggest amount might have to do with the bid’s subcontractors, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. This gives these traditional big space partners, who normally rely on these kinds of government contracts and have little ability to make money outside them, some financing. This will also please their political backers in Congress.

For SpaceX, this is the first time they have taken any government money in connection with Starship. It also appears that NASA is going to stay back and generally let SpaceX develop it without undue interference.


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  • Jay

    Thanks for the link Bob.
    Reading more on Blue Origin’s design: Blue Origin will be making the descent stage, Lockheed-Martin will make a reusable ascent stage, and Northrop will make the transfer stage. They need a transfer stage to move up and down from the high orbit of the Gateway to low orbit and back.

    Not much info on Dynetics’ design. Looks like the whole thing will go up and down. They do have Sierra Nevada as a sub contractor.

    Seeing that image of SpaceX’s Starship on the Moon reminded me of George Pal’s movie “Destination Moon”.

  • Scott M.

    I like this for a couple of reasons.

    1) It gives NASA’s ‘stamp of approval’ for Starship, or at the very least shows that NASA is keeping a close eye on SS development with an eye towards using it in the future.

    2) The funding for SpaceX is only for development of the ‘lunar lander’ variant. It isn’t on the critical path for SS, so it doesn’t give NASA a ‘nose in the tent’ except for specific technologies. Otherwise my fear would be NASA would start larding up SS with conflicting requirements and we’d wind up with another STS all over again.

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