NASA Announces New Partnerships for Commercial Lunar Payload Delivery Services

Gwen Vasquez
November 30, 2018

Although not tied to the aerospace giant's human-rated spacecraft, the company noted its experience with developing vehicles similar to this new lander.

The first new lunar missions could blast off as early next year.

In this approach, NASA would just be one of many customers, Bridenstine said.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announced nine United States companies would compete in delivering experiments to the lunar surface.

"We are going", is an important part NASA's motto for its return to the Moon, and to get there, the space agency will need corporate partners. "We want multiple providers that are competing on cost and innovation".

On Nov. 29, NASA invited media to its headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the announcement of new Moon partnerships with American companies. In a news release, NASA said that "w$3 orking with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars".

Those companies are eligible for competing for NASA's contracts valued at $2.6 billion, according to the US-based space agency.

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Bridenstine told The Atlantic that the audits were done to avoid tragedies similar to those in NASA's history. "There is a lot of incredible science we can do on the surface of the moon that we can't do anywhere else". NASA had "never done anything that fast" before, Zurbuchen said. The long-range goal remains eventual piloted flights to Mars, but only after first using the space station, the moon and lunar orbit as technology test beds to reduce or retire risks. "That foil collected material from the sun and provided the best measurements of the sun we had for the next 25 years".

"We didn't want to wait until after there's an accident, because we don't believe there's going to be an accident, but we wanted to make sure that we do that assessment early and not after the fact".

Both companies have been contracted to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, but have suffered setbacks and delays as their work to develop their spacecraft.

Since the first introduction people have not been to the moon.

"These are not expensive missions", Bridenstine told reporters before the announcement. Lockheed Martin is building the McCandless Lunar Lander, modeled after InSight, which the private company built for NASA.

Throughout the past moon missions, astronauts spent only 16 days at six sites on the surface.

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. Later, reusable landers that go back and forth to the surface of the moon will be used to ensure continuous human presence there which they aim to achieve within the next decade.

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