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NASA Makes the Moon Great Again, Needs 12 Orion Spacecraft for Artemis Missions

The new space program that will put Americans on the Moon once again is called Artemis and was introduced earlier this year. But although its goal was already clear, what was uncertain was the scope of this program.
12 Orion capsules to be built in total for Artemis 1 photo
In an announcement made on Monday (September 23), the American space agency said it has committed to building up to 12 spacecraft for Artemis, including the ones that will actually take astronauts (including, for the first time, a woman) to the surface of Earth’s satellites.

The actual build of the machines will be handled by Lockheed Martin. The first three in the batch, intended for missions III through V, will cost $2.7 billion. In the fiscal year 2022, another three will follow (missions VI through VIII), based on a contract valued at $1.9 billion.

NASA says that by ordering the spacecraft in batches of three it allows the integration of better, possibly yet undeveloped technologies in later capsules.

For the first missions, NASA is already in an advanced stage with the first examples of the Orion capsule, built by Lockheed Martin together with Airbus.

All of the newly commissioned spacecraft are to be built with reusability in mind, says NASA. 

“This contract secures Orion production through the next decade, demonstrating NASA’s commitment to establishing a sustainable presence at the Moon to bring back new knowledge and prepare for sending astronauts to Mars,” said in a statement NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

“Orion is a highly-capable, state-of-the-art spacecraft, designed specifically for deep space missions with astronauts, and an integral part of NASA’s infrastructure for Artemis missions and future exploration of the solar system.”

NASA has big plans for the Moon. Decades after the first men set foot there, America finally decided to return and this time stay. Aside for just visiting the satellite, NASA plans to build a space station in orbit around the Moon, and later down the line it even envisions a lunar base.

press release

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