NASA is returning astronauts to the Moon in this decade for the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972. The Artemis program will see the first woman and next man walk on the Moon by 2024. The program will rely on NASA’s Space Launch System, or SLS, and Orion capsule for transporting astronauts from Earth to the Moon.
Artemis will also require a modern human landing system, or HLS, and today NASA announced which companies will be tasked with developing the new hardware.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Leidos subsidiary Dynetics have been selected as commercial partners to design and develop NASA’s modern human landing system.
NASA outlines how each company’s proposal for new human landing systems:
- Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, is developing the Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) – a three-stage lander to be launched on its own New Glenn Rocket System and ULA Vulcan launch system.
- Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, is developing the Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) – a single structure providing the ascent and descent capabilities that will launch on the ULA Vulcan launch system.
- SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is developing the Starship – a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket.
Here’s how each Human Landing System proposal will work: