NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, as the very first U.S. commercial supplier under the Gateway Logistics Services contract to deliver cargo, experiments and other equipment to the bureau’s Gateway in lunar orbit. The award would be a significant step for NASA’s Artemis program which build up a human lunar presence and will land the woman and man that is next on the Moon by 2024.
At the Moon, NASA and its partners will gain the expertise necessary to mount a historic mission to Mars.
SpaceX will deliver pressurized and unpressurized cargo, science experiments and provides to the Gateway, including sample collection materials and other items the crew may need and during their expeditions on the lunar surface.
“This contract award is yet another crucial part of our strategy to return to the Moon sustainably,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The Gateway is the cornerstone of the long-term Artemis structure and this deep space commercial cargo capacity integrates yet another American business partner into our strategies for human exploration in the Moon in preparation for a future mission to Mars.”
NASA is likely multiple supply missions where the cargo spacecraft will remain at one time in the Gateway for six to 12 months. All these firm-fixed cost, indefinite amount contracts for logistics services guarantee two missions per logistics solutions provider.
“Returning to the Moon and supporting future space exploration demands affordable delivery of significant amounts of cargo,” said SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell. “Through our partnership with NASA, SpaceX has been delivering scientific research and crucial equipment to the International Space Station since 2012, and we are honored to carry on the work beyond Earth’s orbit and haul Artemis cargo to Gateway.”
The Gateway Logistics Services contract gives the ability to include new competitive suppliers and enables NASA to order missions for as long as 12 years. These missions will support NASA’s strategies for sustainable mining with both international and commercial partners, while creating the expertise and abilities necessary to send people to Mars.
“We are bringing the innovative thinking of commercial business into our supply chain and helping ensure we are able to encourage crews preparing for lunar surface expeditions by delivering the supplies that they need beforehand.”
Charged with returning to the Moon in the next four years, new knowledge will be revealed by NASA’s Artemis program about the Moon, Earth and our roots. One logistics agency mission is anticipated to the Gateway for every Artemis SLS/Orion crewed mission. Gaining adventures on and about the Moon will prepare the very first people to be sent by NASA to Mars in the next several years, along with the Gateway will play a very important role in this procedure.
“We are making significant progress moving from our concept of the Gateway to fact,” explained Dan Hartman, Gateway program director at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Bringing a logistics supplier onboard ensures we can transport each of the essential supplies we need for the Gateway and on the lunar surface to do science and research demonstrations in space we can not do anywhere else. We also anticipate performing a variety of research and inside the logistics module.”