The Clipper spacecraft will be brought to Europe by a Falcon Heavy rocket. This is the most powerful launcher available right now, Reuters news agency.
Not with private transport
Initially, the mission was to use NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, but it was delayed and over budgeted.
In exchange for the transfer and everything that comes with it, the US space agency is now transferring $178 million (€151.2 million) to SpaceX, NASA.
First mission to Jupiter
The launch won’t take place until 2024, from NASA’s well-known launch pad at Cape Canaveral, in the US state of Florida. This is the first mission to Jupiter’s moon.
This moon is about 630 million km from Earth. The journey is expected to take more than five years.
The purpose of the mission is to check whether life is possible on the icy surface of the moon. This will include high-resolution images and analysis of ice formation.
The mission also aims to find out if there are underground lakes and how deep and salty the surface waters are.
Battle for space
Elon Musk often provides services to NASA, much to the chagrin of Blue Origin, the space company owned by the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos. Billionaires fight a fierce publicity battle with Richard Branson.
All three entrepreneurs are in the process of making commercial space travel possible. Richard Branson recently won the Pie for Billionaires contest. He made his first private spaceflight on July 11 with his company, Virgin Atlantic. Amazon founder Bezos followed suit on July 20.
The fight over the billion dollar project
The battle is more about who comes first, because with the services provided by NASA, there is also a lot of money to be made. In April, SpaceX won a $2.9 billion contract to build spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis program. The goal of this project is to take astronauts to the moon and back for the first time since 1972.
On Protest against the blue origin of Bezos and another company, Dynetics Inc. Contract suspended. It was not revealed whether these two companies also tried to win this contract.
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