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SpaceX will use the new dragon XL spacecraft to transport cargo to NASA's lunar space station

via:cnBeta.COM     time:2020/3/28 9:30:52     readed:228

According to foreign media techcrunch,SpaceX will be the first space logistics provider to deliver experimental materials, cargo and supplies to its lunar "portal," NASA announced Friday.The "portal" platform will fly around the moon and provide a staging area for future manned lunar missions.

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The contract means SpaceX will not only play a key role in NASA's upcoming Artemis moon mission, which will eventually seek to establish a permanent human moon presence, but will also participate as NASA begins its efforts to expand its reach to Mars. NASA plans to launch multiple cargo supply missions to the portal, which is yet to be built and designed to reach the station for six to 12 months at a time.

The total value of these contracts is no more than $7 billion, and each provider undertakes to perform at least two tasks. NASA may choose another provider, but SpaceX is the first company to sign the agreement with NASA. NASA has signed a contract with SpaceX to use its cargo dragon carrier to provide regular supplies to the international space station in earth orbit.

To support these missions, SpaceX will launch a new variant of the Dragon spacecraft called Dragon XL, which will be able to carry more than five tons of material to the lunar space station. They will use SpaceX's existing Falcon heavy rocket to launch from earth.

NASA the current plan is to start the first module for the lunar space station in 2022, after which the station may be able to receive conventional cargo in any form.

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