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SpaceX lands NASA launch contract for mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa

LOS ANGELES, July 23 – Elon Musk’s non-public rocket firm SpaceX was awarded a $178 million launch products and services agreement for NASA’s very first mission focusing on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and no matter whether it could host ailments suited for everyday living, the room company mentioned on Friday.

The Europa Clipper mission is because of for blastoff in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket owned by Musk’s enterprise, House Exploration Technologies Corp, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Heart in Florida, NASA explained in a statement posted on-line.

The contract marked NASA’s most recent vote of confidence in the Hawthorne, California-based enterprise, which has carried quite a few cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Area Station for NASA in latest many years.

In April, SpaceX was awarded a $2.9 billion deal to construct the lunar lander spacecraft for the planned Artemis program that would have NASA astronauts back to the moon for the very first time due to the fact 1972.

But that deal was suspended right after two rival area corporations, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and protection contractor Dynetics Inc, protested against the SpaceX range.

The company’s partly reusable 23-tale Falcon Major, at this time the most powerful operational space start car or truck in the planet, flew its 1st commercial payload into orbit in 2019.

NASA did not say what other corporations may possibly have bid on the Europa Clipper launch contract.

The probe is to perform a thorough study of the ice-protected Jovian satellite, which is a little bit scaled-down than Earth’s moon and is a leading candidate in the lookup for lifestyle somewhere else in the photo voltaic technique.

A bend in Europa’s magnetic subject noticed by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 appeared to have been brought about by a geyser gushing by the moon’s frozen crust from a broad subsurface ocean, researchers concluded in 2018. These findings supported other evidence of Europa plumes.

Amongst the Clipper mission’s objectives are to develop superior-resolution illustrations or photos of Europa’s surface, identify its composition, glance for indications of geologic exercise, evaluate the thickness of its icy shell and figure out the depth and salinity of its ocean, NASA stated.

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