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NASA solicits proposals for second commercial manned lunar lander

Having received a budget boost from Congress for its manned lunar lander Artemis program, NASA yesterday announced that it is soliciting proposals from the private sector for a second lunar lander, so that the agency will not be reliant only on SpaceX’s Starship.

To bring a second entrant to market for the development of a lunar lander in parallel with SpaceX, NASA will issue a draft solicitation in the coming weeks. This upcoming activity will lay out requirements for a future development and demonstration lunar landing capability to take astronauts between orbit and the surface of the Moon. This effort is meant to maximize NASA’s support for competition and provides redundancy in services to help ensure NASA’s ability to transport astronauts to the lunar surface.

As part of this revised program, NASA also is negotiating a revision to its contract with SpaceX. It appears that this change will have SpaceX fly an additional manned mission with Starship, after which NASA would open up competition to everyone on future flights. The press release however is not entirely clear on this point.

This new competition will of course be a boon to the losers in the first manned lunar lander competition, Blue Origin and Dynetics. Both will certainly submit bids, as will others.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

6 comments

  • Michael S.

    Don’t you mean a Womaned Lander? Isn’t that why NASA is going back to the moon after all?

  • Chris Lopes

    “Blue Origin and Dynetics. Both will certainly submit bids”

    For spacecraft neither of which is actually capable of building. That was kind of NASA’s original point. The SpaceX bid was the only one that looked like it had a chance of actually working at the price quoted.

  • Jeff Wright

    I like the Dynetics design. Keep Starship cargo only- to carry a big rover one way. It crashes? You can still salvage the mission. The manned old space lander crashes? Musk is blameless. The heat is off and he can innovate. Best of both worlds

  • sippin_bourbon

    BO will submit. Heard it from the horses mouth. They have re-tooled the proposal, no doubt.

    I hope Dynetics retools their proposal as well.

    If they win, I will laugh if they beat out BO.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I have heard that Bezos has come up with an innovative approach to this lander bid.

    They intend to assume that one Artemis crewperson will identify as a woman on day 1 on the lunar surface and as a man on day 2 on the lunar surface. This will save the up mass of seating, food, O2, H20, suits, etc. Exchange that mass for alternate payload, or simply reduce the total mass of the lander.

    Brilliant.

  • Star Bird

    If they landed on the moon today they would have Armstrong saying TAHTS ONE SMALL STEP FOR PERSON,ONE GIANT LEAP FOR PERSONKIND

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