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SpaceX will submit a Moon lander proposal for NASA’s crewed moon lander competition

As you may or may not know, NASA offered a challenge for anyone to build a crewed moon lander. And according to reporting from Teslarati, SpaceX is throwing their hat in the ring.

NASA plans to send humans back to the surface of the moon no earlier than 2028, using a rocket that has yet-to-be assembled, the Space Launch System (SLS). Meanwhile, SpaceX is planning to send a team of people into orbit around the Moon using their Starship (formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket or BFR).

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According to Teslarati:

SpaceX reportedly plans to submit its own human-rated Moon lander design for NASA’s latest major request for proposal (RFP), part of the agency’s rough plan to return humans to the Moon no earlier than 2028.

Meant to begin delivering NASA astronauts to the surface of the Moon as early as 2028, the agency hopes to base those lander operations on a thus far unbuilt space station orbiting the Moon with the support of its SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m worried that SpaceX might be biting off more than it can chew. After all, even though it has contracts with NASA, ultimately it’s a for-profit company, meaning over-stretching its resources could lead to collapse.

All signs point to SpaceX having the Falcon 9 figured out, with launches and recoveries becoming somewhat routine. After all, SpaceX fans all remember the failed recovery of CRS-16 back in December and how big of a surprise that was.

But SpaceX still needs to prove that the Falcon Heavy is reliable and won’t jostle itself apart during launch (rocket engines create a lot of vibration), in addition to getting their proof-of-concept Starship hopper off the ground, nevermind getting a full-sized Starship and the Starship’s booster launched and rated for crewed spaceflight.

But then again, people doubted SpaceX when they first announced they would attempt powered landings for their booster stages, and look at where we are today. So who knows? Maybe Ol’ Musky can pull it off.

Cover image via SpaceX

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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