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NASA picks Elon Musk's SpaceX to land next Astronauts on the moon

 NASA has selected SpaceX to send another astronauts to the moon, the agency announced Saturday, April 17.

SpaceX's Starship had beat out two competitors for NASA's Human Landing System (HLS) program that could ferry astronauts down to the lunar surface. SpaceX won $2.5 billion contract to build the Artemis lunar lander. 

"We have awarded SpaceX to continue the development of our integrated human landing system," Lisa Watson-Morgan, HLS program manager, said during a news conference Friday (April 16). "We're confident in NASA's partnership with SpaceX to help us achieve the Artemis mission and look forward to continuing our work toward landing astronauts on the moon, to prepare for the next giant leap towards Mars."

SpaceX has been working closely with NASA experts during the HLS base period of performance to inform its lander design and ensure it meets NASA’s performance requirements and human spaceflight standards. A key tenet for safe systems, these agreed-upon standards range from areas of engineering, safety, health, and medical technical areas.

“This is an exciting time for NASA and especially the Artemis team,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, program manager for HLS at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “During the Apollo program, we proved that it is possible to do the seemingly impossible: land humans on the Moon. By taking a collaborative approach in working with industry while leveraging NASA’s proven technical expertise and capabilities, we will return American astronauts to the Moon’s surface once again, this time to explore new areas for longer periods of time.”

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