SpaceX Wins Bid to Put Astronauts on the Moon

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

SpaceX Wins Bid to Put Astronauts on the Moon

Elon Musk's SpaceX will build a spacecraft to bring astronauts to the moon in a deal with NASA that firmly places the Hawthorne-based startup as the nation's top space ally and solidifies the privatization of lunar travel.

The $2.9 billion contract could make SpaceX the first private company to send people to the moon.

"The U.S. leads in space exploration now, but more and more countries are taking aim at the moon," NASA's acting administrator Steve Jurczyk said during a press briefing Friday.

SpaceX — which this week topped off a massive funding round — was up against Jeff Bezos' aerospace company Blue Origin and a defense contractor in Huntsville, Alabama called Dynetics, according to the Post.

Last year, NASA awarded the three entities $967 million and a 10 month contract to kick off work on the lunar lander modules. It was expected to pick two of the companies to continue. Selecting SpaceX alone, and equipping the company with a near $3 billion contract, came as a surprise.

Musk's company has already begun testing prototypes of its Starship spacecraft in Texas, though recent flights have crash landed. According to the Washington Post, SpaceX will try out a new upgraded vehicle and plans to fly the spacecraft to orbit this year.

The contract falls under NASA's Human Landing Systems project, an arm of the Artemis program aiming to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. Initiated during president Trump's term, the program is being revised under President Biden partially to bring in more funding.

The first woman and first person of color will both step foot on the moon under the Artemis program, Jurczyk said.

"And we won't stop at the moon," he said. "The Artemis lunar landing is a key piece to our moon to Mars strategy."

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Snap Becomes the Latest Tech Firm Requiring Employees Return to the Office

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
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Photo by rblfmr/ Shutterstock

Snap is the latest major tech company to bring the hammer down on remote work: CEO Evan Spiegel told employees this week that they will be expected to work from the office 80% of the time starting in February.

Per the announcement, the Santa Monica-based company’s full-time workers will be required to work from the office four or more days per week, though off-site client meetings would count towards their in-office time. This policy, which Spiegel dubbed “default together,” applies to employees in all 30 of the company's global offices, and the company is working on an exceptions process for those that wish to continue working remotely. Snap’s abrupt change follows other major tech firms, including Apple, which began its hybrid policy requiring employees to be in the office at least three days per week in September, and Twitter, which axed remote work completely after Elon Musk’s takeover (though he did temporarily close offices amid a slew of resignations in mid-November).

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