Musk’s SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin land contracts to build NASA’s astronaut moon lander

Science

FILE PHOTO: Tourists take pictures of a NASA sign at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 14, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

(Reuters) – NASA on Thursday selected space firms SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics to build lunar landing systems that can carry astronauts to the moon by 2024, the White House’s accelerated deadline under the space agency’s moon-to-Mars campaign.

The three companies, which include firms of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, will share $967 million from NASA.

Details on specific amounts each company will receive was not immediately known.

Boeing Co (BA.N), a NASA contractor and one of the companies that bid for this contract, was not selected.

Unlike the Apollo program that put astronauts on the moon 50 years ago, NASA is gearing up for a long-term presence on Earth’s satellite that the agency says will eventually enable humans to reach Mars.

The next manned mission to the moon will require leaps in robotic technologies and a plan for NASA to work with the three companies to design and develop human landing systems.

Reporting by Joey Roulette and Munsif Vengattil; Editing by Maju Samuel

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