Private enterprise will help NASA return to the moon

NASA has picked nine companies, ranging from startups to aerospace giants, to be eligible for future contracts to deliver payloads to the surface of the moon, but with no guarantee of business for any of them.

However, NASA may soon find itself in a odd position, since the two private launch systems may beat SLS back to the moon - and one might be the first to send people to Mars. (Proposals for instruments and technologies to study the moon are due in January.) They include payload integration and operations, and launching from Earth and landing on the moon.

Ultimately, these upcoming missions will help NASA gather data in order to prepare to send a lander with a person in it to the Martian surface.

Following Elon Musk's recent appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast - during which he smoked weed and drank whiskey while on the air - NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the SpaceX CEO promised him he will not behave inappropriately in public again. "This is also the first step toward the Moon in relation to Space Policy Directive-1". All contracts to be signed are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity and have a combined value of $2.6 billion for the following ten years. NASA has formally revealed that it has contacted 9 companies who are now able to launch bids to create the rocket/lander for the next Moon mission. The company was part of the Apollo moon missions that began in the '60s.

"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement published on November 29.

Russia plans between 2036 and 2040 to deploy on the moon full database, said available to RIA Novosti, the draft decision of the joint meeting of Roscosmos and Russian Academy of Sciences Council on space.

NASA has revealed the names of nine United States companies that now will join it in its journey to the Moon.

"At the end of the decade, we envision a continuous presence of landers, rovers, and robots on the surface of the moon, but not necessarily humans", he added.

In 2016, Moon Express became the first commercial space company to receive US federal government authorization for a private mission to the Moon. Working with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

The CLPS missions would be the agency's first such partnership in deep space. Draper is another long-time space contractor in the CLPS program.

Orbit Beyond, a spacecraft company, is expected to fly its spacecraft to the Moon by 2020.

Lockheed Martin, which built the InSight lander that successfully touched down on Mars Monday, said it plans to build a robotic moon lander based on a similar design that could carry a variety of payloads.

  • Valerie Cook