The United States Senate approved a US$250 billion (R$1,26 trillion) funding proposal for scientific research – in the project, $10 billion is included. (BRL 50,39 billion) ordered by NASA for the contracting of private companies and the construction of lunar modules.
Dubbed the “United States Innovation and Competitiveness Act,” the bill still needs congressional approval to go into effect. As the name suggests, the objective is to secure government funds to increase the US competitiveness against increasingly emerging markets, such as China.
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The proposal, if approved, will greatly benefit NASA, which found itself amidst criticism made to it by the Blue Origin and by Dynetics, after the US space agency chose the SpaceX – and only her – for the construction of a new lunar landing module. Under US bidding rules, NASA was supposed to select two companies, but the agency said budget constraints made it take a different course.
The bidding, today, is in court, prevented from being executed after a formal complaint made by Blue Origin.
According to Senator Maria Cantwell (Democratic Party), NASA has the need to build multiple lunar modules in order to update the current model used by the agency for decades. However, the $2,9 billion (BRL 14,66 billion) contract awarded to SpaceX is enough for just one model, argued the congresswoman in May.
A congressional hearing to evaluate the proposal has not yet been scheduled.
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