Nine companies will help NASA get back to the moon

Terry Joseph
December 2, 2018

The companies are Astrobotic Technology, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.

Musk's brief hit of a joint offered to him by Joe Rogan in a video broadcast on YouTube on September 6 "was not appropriate", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters at a news briefing in Washington Thursday, according to a report in Fortune.

In the past, NASA revealed, "Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019".

In the press release announcing the winning companies, NASA said the companies are eligible for up to $2.6 billion in awards over the next ten years. NASA will evaluate bids as they come in for technical feasibility and cost. The company was part of the Apollo moon missions that began in the '60s.

"Navigating humans to the moon and back almost 50 years ago was an incredibly proud moment for the engineers and scientists at Draper", CEO Kaigham Gabriel said.

NASA officials said the research will help get astronauts back to the moon more quickly and keep them safer once they're there.

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Bridenstine said he needs 100 percent commitment to safety from companies with which NASA does business. This image of the moon was taken above Newfoundland from the International Space Station.

The vehicle had been in development for about a decade to explore a polar region of the Moon. NASA believes the first missions could head for the moon as soon as next year, and it already has some payloads in mind.

NASA will also re-evaluate the private sector landscape periodically for emerging players that may be able to offer lunar delivery capabilities, and which may offer CLPS contacts to more companies through on-ramping process. "We've never done anything that fast", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, which manages the contracts with these firms.

Last year, the Trump administration signed Space Policy Directive 1, which authorised NASA to return humans to the surface of the Moon before people are sent onward to Mars. The agency now partners with the private sector for other missions, including human transport to the International Space Station (ISS) wherein SpaceX and Boeing are developing capsules for that objective, and the Directive expands that to include deep space missions.

The ultimate goal of Commercial Crew is to revive USA spaceflight capabilities that the agency lost when it retired the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

These Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts are initial steps toward continuous sustainable scientific study and human exploration on the moon, eventually Mars, and beyond.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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