""Returning to the moon and supporting future space exploration requires affordable delivery of significant amounts of cargo," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in the NASA statement. "SpaceX has been delivering scientific research and critical supplies to the (space station) since 2012, and we are honored to continue the work beyond Earth's orbit."
The Artemis program is aimed at returning astronauts to the lunar surface by the end of 2024, a target date set by the Trump administration. Astronaut crews will make the trip aboard Lockheed Martin-built Orion capsules launched to the moon by gargantuan Space Launch System — SLS — rockets being built by Boeing.
The first Artemis lunar landings are targeted for the moon's south polar region, where ice may be present in permanently shadowed craters. If found, ice could be used to generate water, air and oxygen-hydrogen rocket propellants, saving the cost of transportation from Earth. NASA bills the Artemis program as a stepping stone for eventual flights to Mars.
The 2024 moon landing target is considered an extreme challenge given the program's cost, technical demands and work slowdowns or stoppages caused by coronavirus, but NASA managers said they are pressing ahead and remain hopeful." CBS News
How many projects like this will survive the economic catastrophe shaping up is anyone's guess. Trump is right. We have to save lives but those lives may not be very pleasant for a while if we don't get the economy functioning again. pl