The lunar lander proposed by SpaceX is one of the three spacecraft that have received funding from the American space agency, but a new evaluation has deemed that it is a risky option with a high reward potential.
A statement offered by the Human Landing Services program notes that the lander developed by SpaceX received the lowest score out of the three spacecraft, receiving an Acceptable grade for the technical and managerial ratings. The lander made by Blue Origin scored better from a managerial point of view, receiving a Very Good rating. Dynetics enjoyed the highest favor, with two Very Good ratings.
The Starship was appreciated by NASA, with the document noting the fact that it meets or exceeds all of the threshold values even if it is considerably larger in comparison to the other spacecraft. Its ambitious design compliments some of the plans which have been made by the agency as NASA envisions sustainable and long-term stays on the lunar surface.
SpaceX Lunar Lander Might Present Some Issues
However, the same documents also highlight some potential problems. Other SpaceX programs have been affected by certain delays and are years behind the initial schedule, a fact that decreased the confidence in the ability of the company to develop and deliver the spacecraft within the development schedule deadline.
Some of the evaluators have mentioned that SpaceX favors a rather convoluted strategy when it comes to operation. The company plans to use other Starship vehicles to deliver fuel and serve as tankers for the one that will land on the moon, a decision that will involve complicated maneuvers and meeting to succeed.
The propulsion system employed by the SpaceX spacecraft also relies on a series of subsystems that are still in development, and additional security and safety tests could lead to delays. Similar criticism was aimed at the propulsion systems used by the Blue Origin and Dynetics landers.
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