Question: Is this a one way mission? From the published papers it looks like:
Unmanned launch, refueling in Earth orbit, autonomous flight to Lunar orbit.
The crew follows in an Orion capsule, docks in Lunar orbit, changes over to the lander.
Landing, surface stay, launch, docking to the Orion, the crew departures.
And then? Discard the lander, or re-use? Refuel in lunar orbit (this would take an enormous amount of tankers)?, Return to Earth orbit for re-fuelling? Anybody has an idea what is planned.?
So I listened to the recording of the press conference, and yes, this first contract only covers a single crewed landing
Sending a full-tank Tanker to NRHO is indeed a brilliant idea! I hope NASA and SpaceX also have this in mind for future missions cause it's quite a bummer when they discard the Starship HLS after it has done its job during Artemis 3, whenever year it occursThen enough SH tankers will launch and refuel in LEO to get a full one to the NRHO where it will put enough fuel in the HLS for it to land and take off.
The key here is that SpaceX is actively developing Starship on their own, regardless of Artemis.
NASA is just paying for the lunar variant - simpler and with lower risk than what they are currently testing!