SpaceX will send a lander from startup Astrobotic and a VIPER rover from NASA to the Moon using a Falcon Heavy rocket. The launch is scheduled for late 2023.

If all goes as planned, this will be the first mission to the Moon for SpaceX's cargo rocket. However, for Elon Musk's company itself, this will not be the debut flight to the Earth's satellite, since SpaceX already has lunar projects for 2022 with Masten and Intuitive Machines. But within these missions, they plan to use the Falcon 9.

Astrobotic's lander will send a VIPER rover, which will search for water, from orbit to the Moon's surface. The mission is very important for everyone involved, and it is likely that both companies and NASA will give it priority status.

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For the American space agency, the mission may become a key one in the long-term Artemis project, the ultimate goal of which is to deploy a scientific station on the lunar surface and in its orbit. The life support systems of the ground station will also depend on local resources, so finding water is extremely important.

Astrobotic won a contract to participate in this NASA project last year. The mission includes a cargo landing at the Moon's South Pole, which is the intended landing site for astronauts as part of the Artemis program.

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Astrobotic uses the Griffin model for this task, which is a fairly large spacecraft. On the one hand, this gives additional space for transporting an all-terrain vehicle, but on the other hand, it makes it necessary to use a heavier Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.