Bitter defeat for Jeff Bezos: His space rival Elon Musk has convinced Nasa with a giant shuttle for the next moon landing. The unique technology spectacle is expected to cost almost three billion dollars. Musk has several trump cards.
Elon Musk is to build America’s next lunar lander. The technology entrepreneur is getting a big leap of faith from the U.S. space agency as well as 2.89 billion dollars to make Nasa’s prestigious project a reality.
No man has been on the moon since 1972. Former U.S. President Donald Trump wanted at least one U.S. astronaut to also set foot on the Earth’s satellite by 2024. This timeline has not yet been officially canceled.
Nevertheless, this deadline is extremely ambitious to unrealistic. Musk and his space company SpaceX have proposed a revolutionary concept of unprecedented size and complexity to Nasa for the moon landing, for which the entrepreneur has now been awarded the contract.
Lunar module with external elevator
Compared to the lumpy lunar landers of the Apollo era, which were about six meters high, the new lunar module would be huge at 50 meters. It would not have a ladder for astronauts to descend a few steps to the lunar soil, but an external elevator from the top.
The cargo version could carry 100 tons. The “Starship-HLS” (Human Landing System) model would also be refueled in space for repeated use and remain in space.
The lunar module would be a great descent-ascent cab when U.S. Orion capsules carrying four people arrive in lunar orbit on the new U.S. large rocket SLS. Two people would then descend to the moon for an expected one week.
Musk plans to use a special version of his new “Starship” rocket for the lunar landings, prototypes of which are currently being tested in Texas.
The past four flights of “Starship” rockets all ended with explosions on landing after previously successful flight maneuvers to an altitude of ten kilometers. The next flight (SN-15) is planned soon. Part of SpaceX’s philosophy is to test the limits of what is possible.
Nasa is betting on privatization of space travel
The Nasa contract is another big milestone for Musk. The U.S. space agency is betting on its privatization concept for space travel because it has been successful with it. And it continues to rely on Musk with his radical new concepts.