NASA Reveals 9 Commercial Partners for Lunar Missions

01 December, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Bridget Leonard
  • Elon Musk

The NASA administrators fielded questions from reporters, Twitter users, and young STEM students-the ingenuousness of children's questions contrasting the press's pointed attempts to glean more details about the contract contents, vague selection criteria, and types of experiments.

He hit back at claims the USA has promised to go back to the moon before.

These services will launch from Earth and land on the moon, and NASA will just be "one customer of many customers", agency Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Thursday. That drew the ire of NASA, which launched a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing - the other company partnering with NASA to launch the next-generation manned spacecraft - to ensure that both are following proper safety protocol and setting examples at the top.

'From there we want reusable landers that go back and forth to the surface of the moon, ' Bridenstine told Hill.TV. earlier. The mission: to deliver scientific instruments to the moon, as a prelude to setting up permanent bases for people.

NASA also told TheBlaze that competition between outside companies like this "typically leads to more innovative and less costly solutions for the design of spacecraft".

Work could start as soon as 2025, according to a statement by Yevgeny Mikrin, head designer at the country's space program. "Today, we got the news that NASA selected Lockheed Martin as one of nine companies to build lunar landers", said Josh Hopkins, a Senior Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin.


The contracts call for indefinite deliveries and quantities with a combined maximum value of $2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

"Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019", NASA said in an earlier news release.

The full list of nine companies - Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and Orbit Beyond - will bid on delivery of science and technology payloads for NASA.

NASA now is building a huge new rocket, the Space Launch System, and the Orion deep space capsule to carry astronauts back to lunar orbit in the early 2020s and eventually to a Lunar Gateway space station that will serve as an outpost for visiting astronauts and a jumping off point for human and robotic flights to and from the lunar surface. The company is also developing advanced space robotics capabilities such as terrain relative navigation, mobile robotics for lunar surface operations, and reliable computing systems for mission-critical applications.

Much like NASA's Commercial Resupply Services and Commercial Crew Program, NASA wouldn't own these vehicles, it would purchase their services from the firms that produced them.

Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations.

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