• NASA has awarded Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) owner Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX a $178 million contract to launch a spacecraft to Jupiter’s moon Europa, Reuters reports. 
  • The NASA mission, known as Europa Clipper, will blast off in October 2024 with the help of Musk’s company Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
  • The Europa Clipper is designed to fly past Jupiter’s moon Europa 45 times. 
  • According to NASA, The Europa Clipper spacecraft will produce high-resolution images of the surface, determine the moon’s composition, and scan for geologic activity. 
  • SpaceX’s 23-story Falcon Heavy, currently the most powerful operational space launch vehicle, flew its first commercial payload into orbit in 2019.
  • In the 2021 budget, NASA got permission to consider commercial alternatives to the agency’s Space Launch System. As a result, it began officially looking for a commercial alternative.