NASA outlines plans for a second Moon lander to complement SpaceX’s Starship
NASA has stated that in light of this disclosure, it will modify SpaceX’s existing contract. NASA’s initial contract with SpaceX called for SpaceX to make an uncrewed lunar landing as a demonstration mission before attempting the first crewed landing in the mid-2020s. That initial landing, which would represent NASA’s first human mission to the Moon since the 1970s, will be designated Artemis III and is expected to garner considerable attention. Following that, SpaceX would have entered into a new operational contract with NASA, under which the space agency would purchase individual Starship lander missions to continue returning to the Moon.
NASA now intends to cooperate with SpaceX under the terms of its original contract to execute a third crewed landing following Artemis III. Following that, SpaceX and the new business selected by NASA would likely compete for forthcoming Artemis missions – that is, assuming the providers are prepared.