An American company has won a NASA contract for its Artemis program. The company is Firefly Aerospace. It is based in Texas. The space agency has awarded Firefly Aerospace a contract worth USD 93.3 million to deliver payloads to Moon. NASA said that the initiative is a part of its Artemis program. The private aerospace firm will deliver payloads on the Moon before NASA sends two astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite. According to the company, it will deliver a suite of 10 science investigations and technology demonstrations in 2023. Under the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on Moon in 2024. It will be the first crewed mission to Moon in five decades.
The company will deliver payloads in Mare Crisium. It is a low-lying basin on the Moon’s near side. It is located in the Crisium basin. NASA said that the delivery will probe a variety of lunar resources and surface conditions. The agency said that such explorations will help prepare for future human missions. The contract was awarded as a part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. NASA is signing contacts with several private players to send science and technology payloads on Moon. As per the contact, Firefly Aerospace will be solely responsible for end-to-end delivery services. This is the sixth such award by NASA.
NASA said that it is excited that another player is joining the program. The agency in a statement said that the latest award of contract will allow the vendors to demonstrate their ability to deliver payloads safely. Besides, it will also expand their capability to assist in future missions. Firefly Aerospace said that it will use its Blue Ghost lander to provide the service. The lander was designed by the company at its Texas facility. The payloads will weigh 94 kg. Under the Artemis program, NASA will launch three spacecraft. The first aircraft will take off later this year. It will be an uncrewed mission. The second spacecraft will be launched in 2023. It will be a crewed mission. The spacecraft will perform a flyby of the Moon and return to Earth. The third and final mission will take two astronauts to Moon in 2024.