More than a decade ago, Virginia-based Space Adventures began offering a tour around the moon with a Russian spacecraft for two passengers. A year ago, Space Adventures said two customers had signed contracts and hoped to be able to fly at a price of $150 million per ticket by the end of the decade. Space Adventures still offers the Moon Tour package. The company declined to comment specifically on SpaceX`s mission, but spoke in favor of it. (At the end of this story, you`ll find the full text of Space Adventures` response.) The contract is the latest in a series of victories for SpaceX in NASA`s science satellite launch competitions. These rewards, however, had a wide range of command values, even for the same class of pitchers. All three of these launches, such as the IMAP mission, will use Falcon 9 missiles. One of the reasons why the IMAP mission may cost more than others is the increased complexity of the mission, which includes several secondary payloads that lead to both the L-1 point and the Moon. .
IMAP is a mission that NASA selected for development in 2018 as part of its Solar Terrestrial Probes program. It will operate at the L-1 lagrange point, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth to the Sun, to study the limit of the Sun`s heliosphere with interstellar space and measure the production of cosmic radiation. Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos` space outfit; Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos, an IT company based in Reston, Virginia; And Elon Musks SpaceX has won contracts that have given NASA three options that would rival each other, while NASA is trying to fulfill an ambitious White House mandate to bring humans to the moon by 2024. (Bezos owns the Washington Post.) The value of the IMAP contract is only slightly lower than SpaceX`s first Falcon Heavy contract with NASA for the Psyche asteroid mission awarded in February. This contract is worth $117 million. SpaceX founder Elon Musk, a billionaire, telegraphed today`s announcement in a tweet on Sunday, but gave no prior indication on the matter. Buzz Aldrin shares Moonshot`s latest vision: no to NASA`s gateway, but yes to China The reality is that the Space Agency`s Artemis program is still very fluid. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns about whether Congress would support this Trump administration`s demand for billions of dollars in additional funding from NASA in fiscal year 2021. But with this distinction, NASA and its administrator seem to want to make it clear that they are committed to both commercial space and a sustainable return to the Moon. “We will work closely with SpaceX to ensure that it safely meets contractual obligations to return astronauts to U.S.
soil and continues to successfully provide refueling to the International Space Station. The launch will also support several secondary payloads as part of a NASA initiative to harness overcapacity in science missions. . . .