Why does NASA pay SpaceX?

2023 © Wikiask
Main topic: Science
Other topics: Space, SpaceX
Short answer: The commercial company SpaceX is outpacing NASA in terms of development and technology, forcing NASA to look for help with various space initiatives.

SpaceX now dominates rocket flight, bringing significant benefits and risks to NASA[edit]

  • As of 2022, SpaceX handles almost two-thirds of NASA's launches, including many research payloads, with missions as inexpensive as $62 million, or two-thirds the price of a rocket from United Launch Alliance, a rival.
  • SpaceX's ambitions extend beyond low-Earth orbit; the company was picked to construct a Moon lander and is testing a massive heavy-lift rocket named Starship that might deliver humans to Mars.
  • SpaceX has saved money through technologies such as reusable stages and fairings, which have reduced the cost of space travel.
  • Elon Musk, a bold billionaire, might endanger NASA's longstanding safety culture. NASA attempts to simulate everything in minute detail.[1]
NASA Crew-4 Mission

SpaceX NASA contract moon lander[edit]

This anticipated second contract award, known as the Sustaining Lunar Development contract, together with SpaceX's second option under its initial landing contract, will pave the path for future recurrent lunar transportation services for personnel on the moon.

The $2.9 billion deal with SpaceX to deploy Starship to transport people from lunar orbit to the moon's surface[edit]

The arrangement continues NASA's reliance on commercial corporations to transport humans, cargo, and robotic explorers into orbit.[2]

SpaceX wins NASA's 5 more astronaut launch[edit]

NASA announced it has awarded five more astronaut missions to Elon Musk's SpaceX, with a contract worth an additional $1.4 billion to the company. The extra flights fall under NASA's Commercial Crew program, which delivers astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. The firm received a sole-source modification to the existing contract between NASA and SpaceX.

The modification will allow the agency to acquire up to three additional flights to the International Space Station using its Crew Dragon system; these would follow the six crewed flights already arranged.[3]

SpaceX is technologically more advanced than NASA[edit]

  1. SpaceX develops its own cost-efficient propulsion engines
  2. SpaceX is using AI to optimize and automate space travel and to keep its satellite network safe
  3. SpaceX is the first company to achieve low orbit return and several other milestones
  4. SpaceX is outperforming NASA in orbital launches
  5. SpaceX advancement in spaceflights is reflected in its valuation[4]

NASA and SpaceX[edit]

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is the U.S. government agency in charge of space exploration, space technology, Earth and space science, and aeronautics research. NASA inspires the world via its exploration of new frontiers, the discovery of new knowledge, and the development of innovative technologies.[5]

Elon Musk created SpaceX in 2002, intending to deliver inexpensive space travel and conquer Mars. SpaceX is a private Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. It consistently leads to innovation and establishes the new standard.


  1. Press (2021-04-23). "SpaceX now dominates rocket flight, bringing big benefits and risks to NASA". AviationOutlook. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  2. Potter, Sean (2022-03-23). "NASA Provides Update to Astronaut Moon Lander Plans Under Artemis". NASA. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  3. "Elon Musk's SpaceX wins $1.4 billion NASA contract for 5 more astronaut launches to the International Space Station - Business Insider India". www.businessinsider.in. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  4. "An Oxford case study explains why SpaceX is more efficient than NASA". Quartz. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  5. "NASA". www.performance.gov. Retrieved 2022-10-26.