Dezeen Magazine

NASA selects Musk and Bezos to design landers for 2024 mission to land first woman on moon

NASA has named Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, Elon Musk's SpaceX and Alabama-based Dynetics as the three teams that will develop vehicles for its planned moon landing in 2024.

Each of the three teams will spend the next 10 months designing and developing their human landing systems (HLS) to be used for NASA's Artemis program, which aims to place the first woman and next man on the moon in four years time.

"With these contract awards, America is moving forward with the final step needed to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, including the incredible moment when we will see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system, and now we have companies on contract to do the work for the Artemis program."

NASA selects Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to design moon landers for 2024 mission
SpaceX is one of three companies chosen by NASA to develop a moon lander

At the end of the 10-month period the moon landers being designed by Blue Origin, SpaceX and Dynetics will be evaluated by NASA, with the preferred designs being chosen to perform initial demonstration missions.

A final decision on the company and design that will be used to make the moon landing will be made after the initial demonstrations take place.

Each of the three companies has taken a significantly different approach to the design of their moon-landing vehicle.

Elon Musk's company SpaceX has designed a lander called Starship. It is a is a fully reusable launch and landing system that will be carried from the earth on SpaceX's Super Heavy rocket booster.

NASA selects Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to design moon landers for 2024 mission
Blue Origin is designing a three-stage landing vehicle

Blue Origin, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, is developing a three-stage Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV), which has decent, ascent and transfer modules. It will be launched on either its New Glenn rocket system or the ULA Vulcan.

The Dynetics Human Landing System is Alabama-based technology company Dynetics' offering. This single structure has a low-slung crew module to allow for easier boarding from the craft. It will also be launched on the ULA Vulcan launch system.

NASA selects Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to design moon landers for 2024 mission
Dynetics is the third company developing a moon lander for NASA

"I am confident in NASA's partnership with these companies to help achieve the Artemis mission and develop the human landing system returning us to the Moon," said Lisa Watson-Morgan, human landing systems program manager for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

"We have a history of proven lunar technical expertise and capabilities at Marshall and across NASA that will pave the way for our efforts to quickly and safely land humans on the Moon in 2024."

NASA is using the 2024 moon landing mission as preparation for a future mission to land on Mars. Architect and designers have been working with NASA to envision how people could live on the Red planet.

Other designs for Mars include architect Stefano Boeri proposal for a dome-covered Mars colony with "vertical forests" and Malaysian designers Warith Zaki and Amir Amzar settlement made from locally grown bamboo.