Not so long ago, the American space agency NASA opted for three non-state companies for further work on creating a spacecraft to send astronauts to the moon as part of the upcoming Artemis mission. They turned out to be SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics.
NASA entered into contracts with companies, according to which they paid for 10-month work on the concrete presentation of its project of the landing of American astronauts on the Earth’s satellite. Moreover, the amounts were distributed unequally. $ 579 million went to Blue Origin, led by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The Blue Origin team includes such large and famous names as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Dynetics financing is more modest than more than 2 times – 253 million dollars. The team of this company has approximately 25 organizations, including Maxar, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Thales Alenia Space. But SpaceX received only 135 million dollars. And this is connected, in fact, with the main reason – NASA doubts the ability of the Mask company to build its sensational Starship ship by 2024.
When choosing these three companies, NASA evaluated the strengths and possible risks. SpaceX and its Starship received the lowest ratings. The overall rating of the company’s application, Ilona Mask, was “satisfactory”.
One of the doubts about SpaceX’s capabilities was their previous repeated delays on other programs. This applies to work on the Crew Dragon and Falcon Heavy, the launch dates of which were postponed for several years. However, some experts felt that this allowed SpaceX to add a lot of invaluable experience to its piggy bank to prevent similar errors in the future.
The NASA’s concept of the Starship also caused doubt, since for its full functioning it will require several more similar devices. This greatly complicates the startup process. In addition, another reason for the increased risk was the complex Starship engine system, which was not fully developed and would require considerable time for full-fledged “combat” use.
However, despite all the bottlenecks of the Starship project, NASA experts noted positive aspects. The new ship will be a technologically equipped vehicle, exceeding in size all of its competitors. This will allow in the future to minimize the cost of additional launches and increase the flexibility of missions. Therefore, despite the fact that NASA doubts the possibility of SpaceX to present a satisfactory ship by 2024, in future missions, the Ilon Mask device may become the basis.