NASA picks 5 companies for Artemis lander work: Who ranked best?

NASA's Artemis lander concept process reached a point where 5 companies were awarded further millions to mature sustainable human landing system concepts. The awards will be given under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix N broad agency announcement, and represent a combined total of $146 million USD for work over the next 15 months.

The companies that've been chosen by NASA include names you've likely read about before – and recently, and repeatedly. They include Blue Origin, Dynetics (Leidos company), Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and SpaceX. The companies and their awards in this most recent round are listed below.

• Blue Origin Federation of Kent, Washington, $25.6 million.

• Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, $40.8 million.

• Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, $35.2 million.

• Northrop Grumman of Dulles, Virginia, $34.8 million.

• SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $9.4 million.

These companies will get the millions of dollars noted above to make advancements toward sustainable human landing system concepts. These companies will also use awarded money to conduct risk-reduction activities and provide feedback to NASA on crewed lunar landing missions and their requirements to cultivate industry capabilities toward said activities.

Evaluation of this part of the program included seven offerors, including

• Blue Origin Federation, LLC (Blue Origin)

• Blue Ridge Nebula Starlines (Blue Ridge)

• Cook & Chevalier Enterprises (Cook & Chevalier)

• Dynetics, A Leidos Company (Dynetics)

• Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin)

• Northrop Grumman Corporation (Northrop Grumman)

• Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX)

Companies that received "Outstanding" (highest) marks in evaluation included Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and Space X. You can read the full results in the "Source Selection Statement" document on the NASA NextSTEP N page for Sustainable Human Landing System Studies and Risk Reduction.

NASA's Lisa Watson-Morgan, Human Landing System Program manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, spoke about the importance of partnering with US companies for this project and future projects.

"Collaboration with our partners is critical to achieving NASA's long-term Artemis lunar exploration goals," said Watson-Morgan. "By partnering with innovative U.S. companies, we will establish a robust lunar economy while exploring new areas of the Moon for generations to come."