NASA selects nine USA companies to vie for moon program funding

NASA selects nine USA companies to vie for moon program funding

NASA selects nine USA companies to vie for moon program funding

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the nine companies that will be the first to participate in the agency's new Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

Work could start as soon as 2025, according to a statement by Yevgeny Mikrin, head designer at the country's space program. It is still unknown what instruments or experiments will fly on the first CLPS missions. Meanwhile, a startup called Orbit Beyond is in the running for NASA's moon payloads, and it's working with TeamIndus, the Indian spaceflight company that nearly won the Lunar X Prize competition.

Masten's XL-1 lander has two payload bays with the capacity of delivering an estimated 220 lbs (100 kilograms) of mass to the lunar surface. "We want to assure payload customers who select Lockheed Martin can be confident that we'll deliver on-time and on-budget". "This is like a venture capital kind of effort where at the end of the day, the risk is high but the return is also very high for a low investment".

However, NASA's plan to land on the moon may happen before the Russian moon landings, as the United States space agency is apparently trying to have a continuous human presence on the lunar presence by 2030.

We will remind, 49 years ago, American astronaut Neil Armstrong the first of the humans stepped on the lunar surface.

NASA expects the selected contractors to begin flying to the moon as early as next year. SMD serves as the NASA interface between the agency's mission directorates, the scientific community, and other external stakeholders in developing a strategy to enable an integrated approach for robotic and human exploration within NASA's Moon to Mars Exploration Campaign.

But he was cheered by the possibility that partnerships with the aerospace industry might make the Moon more accessible. Under this architecture, NASA would become one "among many" customers.

"[The agency] will be conducting a cultural assessment study in coordination with our commercial partners to ensure the companies are meeting NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment".

Lockheed Martin based its moon lander on InSight, the spacecraft that landed on Mars this week.

Likewise, Boeing and SpaceX are readying new commercial crew ships to carry astronaut to and from the space station starting next year.

You won't be seeing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk smoking marijuana or drinking whiskey on a podcast again if he wants to help get astronauts into space. More importantly, though, it acknowledges that CLPS is a risky endeavor, with many companies likely to suffer technical or financial failures.

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

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