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SpaceX to deliver cargo to NASA’s lunar Gateway station using a new ‘Dragon XL’ spacecraft

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SpaceX to deliver cargo to NASA’s lunar Gateway station using a new ‘Dragon XL’ spacecraft

NASA has tapped SpaceX as the primary supplier of space-based logistics to ship experiment supplies, cargo and provides to its lunar Gateway, the company introduced on Friday. This means SpaceX will likely be among the many corporations that NASA can flip to when it wants issues shuttled by way of spaceship between Earth and this forthcoming platform, which can orbit the Moon and supply a staging floor for future crewed Moon missions.

The contract implies that SpaceX will play a key position in not solely NASA’s forthcoming Artemis Moon missions, which can ultimately search to determine a everlasting scientific human lunar presence, however that it additionally will likely be concerned as NASA begins to work towards extending its attain to Mars, as effectively. NASA plans to launch a number of cargo provide missions to the Gateway, which has but to be constructed, with spacecraft designed to go to the station and stay there for between six and 12 months at a time.

The whole worth of those contracts will high out at a most of $7 billion for all the contract, with a assured minimal of two missions per supplier. Other suppliers will doubtless be chosen, however SpaceX is the primary firm to be signed by NASA beneath the settlement. SpaceX is already contracted by NASA to ship common provide runs to the International Space Station in Earth orbit utilizing its Dragon cargo spacecraft.

READ MORE:  Here’s what Virgin Orbit hopes to achieve with their first full orbital test launch on Sunday

SpaceX goes to be launching a brand new variant of its Dragon spacecraft known as the “Dragon XL” with the intention to assist these missions, and they’re going to be capable to carry greater than 5 metric tons to the Moon-orbiting station. They’ll use SpaceX’s current Falcon Heavy craft to launch from Earth for the journey.

In phrases of timing, we’ll doubtless have to attend some time for the primary of those missions to truly take off: While the present plan is to launch the primary module for the station as early as 2022, it’ll doubtless solely be a number of years after that that the station is in any form to obtain common cargo runs.


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