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Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has received a contract from Firefly Aerospace to launch its Blue Ghost lunar lander in 2023.
Firefly won the Commercial Lunar Payload Services’ (CLPS) 19D task order from Nasa earlier this year.
The company has since been working to accelerate the Blue Ghost programme development.
The lander will carry ten payloads for Nasa’s CLPS task order 19D mission and other commercial payloads that have been contracted separately.
Blue Ghost will be carried onboard SpaceX’s partially reusable two-stage-to-orbit medium-lift launch vehicle Falcon 9.
It will land at Mare Crisium in the lunar Crisium basin.
Firefly Aerospace spacecraft senior vice-president Shea Ferring said: “Firefly is excited to fly our Blue Ghost spacecraft on the highly reliable Falcon 9, which will deliver Nasa instruments and technology demonstration payloads that support Nasa science goals and Nasa’s Artemis programme.
“The high performance of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle permits a lunar transit using minimal Blue Ghost propulsion resources, thereby allowing the lander to deliver more than 150kg of payload to the lunar surface.”
The first lander under CLPS programme is slated for launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
With this contract, SpaceX will now launch five of the six CLPS missions awarded by Nasa so far.
Last month, SpaceX secured a $2.89bn contract from Nasa to develop the first commercial human lander to carry two astronauts to the lunar surface as part of the Artemis programme.