KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., May 23 (UPI) -- NASA on Thursday awarded a major contract for a planned moon landing in 2024 to Maxar Technologies of Westminster, Colo.
The contract is to build the first segment of NASA's planned Gateway outpost that's intended to orbit the moon -- basically the engine or power and propulsion element.
Gateway will be the staging point to send astronauts to the moon's surface for the first time since 1972.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the contract award at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. In a news release following the announcement, NASA said the fixed-price award carries a maximum total value of $375 million. The contract begins with a 12-month base period of performance followed by extension options.
Bridenstine also spoke Thursday morning at Kennedy Space Center, promoting the new name for the moon program -- Artemis.
The Trump administration has proposed an additional $1.6 billion in NASA funding for 2020 dedicated to ramping up for the Artemis mission.
Artemis in Greek mythology was the twin sister of Apollo, the name of NASA's previous manned missions to the moon. Apollo is the ancient Greek god of the sun and light, among other things, while Artemis is the goddess of hunting and the wilderness.
Bridenstine and Kennedy administrator Bob Cabana said they want to create the Artemis Generation, similar to what some have referred to as the Apollo Generation.
Test missions will include Artemis 1, which will launch an unoccupied capsule. Artemis 2 would carry the first humans launched to the moon in the 21st century.
"We're looking at ultimately launching humans around the moon by 2022," Bridenstine said.