by Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – NASA awarded SpaceX, the company of billionaire Elon Musk, a contract of 178 million dollars (151 million euros) for a mission to find out if Europe, one of the moons of Jupiter, offers conditions favorable to the development of life, the US space agency announced on Friday.
The Europa Clipper mission will launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This contract is the latest between NASA and SpaceX. Elon Musk’s company had already carried out transports to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA in recent years.
In April, a SpaceX rocket carrying a Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts on board, including Frenchman Thomas Pesquet, successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Steve Gorman; French version Camille Raynaud)