Dynetics teams up with Sierra Nevada Corp. for NASA’s big lunar lander competition

Dynetics lunar lander concept
An artist’s conception shows Dynetics’ design for a lunar lander. (Dynetics Illustration)

Alabama-based Dynetics says it’s leading a team of companies proposing a crew-carrying lunar lander for NASA, in competition with other companies including Blue Origin and Boeing.

  • One of Dynetics’ partners is Sierra Nevada Corp., which is already working on a cargo-carrying space plane called the Dream Chaser for commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station. The Dynetics-SNC team-up was first reported late last week by Space News, and confirmed by tweets from Dynetics and SNC. Dynetics says other companies are on the team but has declined to identify them.
  • NASA’s human lander program is aimed at clearing the way for two types of large-capacity landers to be flown to the moon, starting with a crewed mission to the lunar surface in 2024. Dynetics submitted its proposal by the November deadline but held off on revealing its involvement until this month. Dynetics is involved in a wide range of other space projects — for example, as a contractor for NASA’s Space Launch System and a propulsion system provider for Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander.
  • Dynetics’ competitors for NASA’s human-rated lunar lander contracts include Blue Origin, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ privately held space venture, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper; and Boeing, which has said it will work with NASA centers but hasn’t identified any commercial partners. SpaceX is presumably offering its heavy-lift Starship system for NASA’s use but hasn’t confirmed that it made a proposal. NASA currently plans to announce which companies will be moving on to the next phase of development in February, which is later than originally scheduled.

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