Elon Musk raises his arms in celebration under a Starship rocket prototype under construction in Boca Chica, Texas.
Elon Musk's SpaceX beat teams led by Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin and Dynetics subsidiary to win a nearly$ 3 billion contract to build NASA's next lunar lander, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
NASA awarded the three teams with$ 967 million and 10 month contracts last year to start work on lunar lander concepts under its Human Landing Systems Program. SpaceX was awarded the least amount of these three,$ 135 million. Meanwhile, Blue Origin received$ 253 million and Dynetics won$ 579 million.
The NASA contract for this latest contest is worth$ 2.9 billion, The Post reported, citing a SpaceX source selection document.
NASA was expected to select two of the three teams, making the initial selection of SpaceX a surprise given the previous goals of the agency for the program to continue to be a competition.
For the Human Landing Systems program, Musk's company could test a variation of its SpaceX rocket, prototypes of which SpaceX has been testing in its development facility in Boca Chica, Texas. The company has landed multiple successful test flights of Starship to date, although landing attempts after the last four high-altitude flights ended in a variety of fiery explosions.
HLS is part of the NASA Mars mission Artemis, which is intended to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
The mission was announced by President Donald Trump ’ s administration. Artemis Press Secretary has indicated that the current administration expects to continue with Joe Biden.
Bezos' Space Company unveiled its plans to build a crewed lunar lander in 2019, announcing it would partner with industry giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper in the effort. Dynetics teamed up with Sierra Nevada Corporation for its concept and was seen as a dark horse in the race.
NASA is planning to make an announcement about the HLS program later on Friday, the acting Administrator of NASA said earlier in the day Steve Jurczyk.