California based Masten Space Systems has signed a contract with SpaceX for its first Moon mission. The mission will include a lunar lander at the South Pole on Moon. It will carry a suite of payloads for NASA. The aerospace manufacturer said its Masten Mission One lunar lander mission will be launched in late 2022. Both Masten and SpaceX didn’t disclose the value of the contract. The pact, however, does not cover a specific launch vehicle. NASA earlier this year selected Masten to deliver eight different payloads to the South Pole as part of its Artemis program. The Artemis program of NASA aims to send humans to Moon in 2024.
Masten has hired SpaceX to launch its XL-1 lunar lander. It will be the first lunar lander mission of the aerospace company. The MM1 mission will carry payloads Commercial Lunar Payload Services program of the NASA to the South Polar Region. The lander will deliver nine science and technology payloads. Reports say that the lander has passed a preliminary design review. The company has initiated a process to build the spacecraft. It has started purchasing long-lead items. Masten said that executives are holding meetings biweekly to review the progress. The company has joined a league of companies using SpaceX services to launch lunar lander missions. SpaceX has experience of launching one lunar lander mission.
The instruments that will be taken to Moon will focus on mapping the composition and temperature on the lunar surface. Besides, it will also be photographing the lunar geology and sampling material. The lander will be equipped with a small rover. The rover will be tasked to look for signs of water on the lunar surface. Masten CEO Sean Mahoney said that SpaceX’s launch success was behind its decision to sign this pact. Mahoney said that both Masten and SpaceX share a common vision which makes their partnership stronger. The data gathered by the equipment will play a key role in determining the success of NASA’s Artemis program.