NASA had good news for Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk but bad news for Boeing Thursday. Bezos' Blue Origin company and Musk's SpaceX have been selected, along with Alabama-based Dynetics, to develop spacecraft that can land people on the moon, the BBC reports. Under contracts totaling just under $1 billion, the companies will submit competing designs for moon landers. Boeing, which usually plays a key role in NASA spacecraft programs, also submitted a bid but was not selected, reports the Washington Post. NASA says its engineers will work with the companies on their designs; they should be able to choose by next February which lander will bring people to the moon for the first time since 1972.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tells the Post that the Artemis mission is "starting to feel very, very real" and he is confident that the agency can meet President Trump's goal of bringing people to the moon by the close of 2024. The project was behind schedule and over budget even before the pandemic, but Bridenstine told reporters Thursday that he was confident Congress would approve funding despite the huge amounts being spent on coronavirus relief, the New York Times reports. "It’s important that this agency do this now, because our country and in fact the whole world has been shaken by this coronavirus pandemic," he said. "And yet we need to give people hope. We need to give them something that they can look up to, dream about." (Read more Artemis missions stories.)