The rain of good news for SpaceX seems to have no end. After the resounding success of the Demo-2 mission in bringing a couple of astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA and its spokespersons are continuing to wink at how good the competition between private companies is, how much money they are saving and how successful the missions are.
The historical fact has made it especially clear within the U.S. Space Agency that they see a positive opportunity to stop depending on themselves for space travel and, in the process, to stop spending a few billion dollars ‘outsourcing’ this service. Because of Elon Musk’s formula, costs per seat have dropped considerably, mainly because his rockets are reusable and made with the latest technology.
With the first test fire passed, Musk is already looking beyond the International Space Station and is accelerating the development of its Starship, with which it intends to reach the moon as part of the Artemis project. An international space program that aims to bring humans back to Earth’s natural satellite and already has the extravagant owner of SpaceX as one of its main characters.
NASA + SpaceX = Moonbase
Over the past week, the magic words Elon Musk wanted to hear appeared on Twitter: “The cost-saving success of @Commercial_Crew is based on @NASA establishing high-level requirements and letting private companies innovate“. From none other than Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator The space agency’s heaviestweight, appointed by Donald Trump in 2017, welcomes the work done by SpaceX and many other companies fighting for multi-million dollar contracts.
The cost-saving success of @Commercial_Crew is based on @NASA establishing high-level requirements and letting private companies innovate. For the Artemis Moon base, NASA will establish a cost per ton delivered and once again let private companies innovate. pic.twitter.com/KFhlI9KzHU
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) June 8, 2020
To which he continues: “For the Artemis Moon lunar base, NASA will establish a cost per ton delivered and once again let private companies innovate“. And there was Elon Musk, on the prowl to respond by supporting his stand against competition above all else and against the disproportionate spending of the traditional 100% government formula. “Performance contracting must be applied widely within government. The difference in results will be incredible,” Musk said.
These statements come just after the leak of an internal email from Elon Musk on CNBC reporting on the company’s new top priority: Starship. The ship that promises to be SpaceX’s next flagship is already being developed at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Starship is the centerpiece of Elon Musk’s upcoming desire to take humans beyond the Space Station, and it still has a long way to go.
The Artemis program has been the goose that lays the golden eggs for several companies with aerospace ambitions. In addition to Musk, Blue Origin – Amazon’s sister company and directed by Jeff Bezos – has taken a big piece of the pie by winning the competition to make a lunar lander and Dynetics, another aerospace giant, has done the same with the Human Landing System.