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SpaceX is now building a Raptor engine a day, NASA says

“This, by the way, is very high on their top risk list.”



A multiplicity of Raptor rocket engines installed on a Super Heavy booster. (credit: Elon Musk/Twitter)

A senior NASA official said this week that SpaceX has done “very well” in working toward the development of a vehicle to land humans on the surface of the Moon, taking steps to address two of the space agency’s biggest concerns.

NASA selected SpaceX and Starship for its Human Landing System in April 2021. In some ways, this was the riskiest choice of NASA’s options because Starship is a very large and technically advanced vehicle. However, because of the company’s self-investment of billions of dollars into the project, SpaceX submitted the lowest bid, and from its previous work with SpaceX, NASA had confidence that the company would ultimately deliver.

Two of NASA’s biggest technological development concerns were the new Raptor rocket engine and the transfer and storage of liquid oxygen and methane propellant in orbit, said Mark Kirasich, NASA’s deputy associate administrator who oversees the development of Artemis missions to the Moon. During a subcommittee meeting of NASA’s Advisory Council on Monday, however, Kirasich said SpaceX has made substantial progress in both areas.

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