SpaceX said they will use the Falcon heavy rocket to deliver a modified version of the Dragon XL spacecraft to the Lunar Gateway station. The spacecraft will remain docked to the gateway for a year, and then “autonomous” disposal will occur.
“The provision of this contract is another important part of our plan to return to the moon in a sustainable manner”, said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
NASA added that they are still planning to build a gateway that will support international business. The agency notes that they want to attract more commercial companies, like SpaceX, to the Artemis program.
Previously, NASA announced that it will accept applications for participation in the Artemis program, which provides for sending people to the moon and Mars, from March 2 to March 31, 2020. According to a NASA report, the US now has 48 active astronauts who periodically visit the ISS, but the agency needs more people “to control spacecraft”.