NASA selects nine companies for commercial lunar lander program

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 7, 2018

While NASA's commercial partners remain firmly on the ground, with their workplaces under review by a nervous agency, Russian Federation has no such worries.

"The intent to return to the moon is to do some science exploration, to land and explore the lunar surface and then finally pave the way for eventual human return to the moon", Dent said in a phone interview. In other words, what really happened today is NASA announced a list of companies it'll consider hiring to take stuff to the moon over the next decade.

Lockheed Martin, has extensive experience in building robotic landers already, including InSight, which landed on Mars earlier this week, though they are much larger than what is planned for CLPS. But it is also expected to serve as a launching point for missions to other parts of the solar system, including the planet Mars. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, have been making space station shipments since 2012.

NASA hopes that others will use these services as space travel becomes an endeavour accessible to private corporations.

The space agency said in a statement the goal is to bring many science and technology experiments to the moon as soon as possible.

Zurbuchen said in an interview after the media event that he considers these to be in the Mission of Opportunity category of competed SMD activities.

"Working with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the moon and Mars", NASA said in a.

Altogether, these Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts have a combined value of $2.6 billion over the next 10 years. The first flight could be next year; 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

This "Moon to Mars" program includes working with global and commercial partners to send humans back to the moon as well as landing astronauts on Mars for the first time.

At a press conference Thursday, the space agency's administrator, Jim Bridenstine, introduced nine private companies that have been chosen to help send small science payloads to the moon in the coming years.

The commercial crew program, NASA started to use transporting humans from space with the expertise of private aerospace industry competitors and given the contract to SpaceX and Boeing in the year 2014.

NASA is still deciding what it wants to launch, but Bridenstine stresses that this effort is being driven by science and that is why SMD is leading it, rather than the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). The company is now developing a "Peregrine Lander" aimed at orbital and surface operations for any lunar destination.

The space agency plans to work closely with these private companies and maybe more.

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