NASA has extended the research contracts of three companies, which were signed in April 2020. Two of these companies will be chosen by NASA for the Artemis program, which, among other things, involves the landing of astronauts on the Moon. The US Aerospace Agency now plans to select companies for the Artemis mission by April 30.
The three companies that apply for participation in the Artemis program are SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics. Each of them must submit their works on a manned flight to the Moon. The total value of NASA contracts with companies is $967 million.
The postponement of the completion of contracts is associated with a change of government in the United States and a reduction in NASA funding. In the budget for 2021, the agency has $850 million provided, while it requested 3.2 billion for the timely implementation of the Artemis mission.
The purpose of the Artemis program is broader than just the landing of astronauts on the Moon. It is to organize scientific research and search for economic benefits from the use of the Moon. It is about turning the satellite into a platform for further exploration of Mars.
In May 2020, NASA developed the Artemis Accords – a list of principles governing the exploration of the Moon by space states. Eight states have now joined the pact: Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and Ukraine.