SpaceX beat out competition including the Bezos-backed Blue Origin and Leidos-subsidiary Dynetics to win the contract.
All three organizations were awarded 10-month contracts to build lunar lander concepts as part of the Human Landing Systems program. Blue Origin — which submitted a proposal in partnership with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman — received more than four times the amount of funding relative to SpaceX in this concept period.
In describing the motivations for the lunar mission, NASA cites "scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation."
"By taking a collaborative approach in working with industry while leveraging NASA's proven technical expertise and capabilities, we will return American astronauts to the moon's surface once again, this time to explore new areas for longer periods of time," said Lisa Watson-Morgan, the program manager for the human landing system at NASA, in the press release announcing SpaceX's award of the contract.