Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

NASA pushing for continuous manned presence on moon ‘within 10yrs’

NASA selects 9 US companies to make lunar robotic payloads NASA looks to outsource Moon delivery services
Derrick Tucker | 02 December, 2018, 07:31

NASA's CLPS programme will offer contracts worth a combined value of about $2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

America's next Moon landing will be made by private companies - not NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday announced nine United States companies including Lockheed Martin Corp. that are going to compete for funding NASA's long-term moon program.

"We are excited to partner with these unbelievable companies at the dawn of a new era of lunar and solar system exploration", stated Moon Express founder & CEO, Bob Richards.

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.

These services will launch from Earth and land on the moon, and NASA will just be "one customer of many customers", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Thursday.

The earliest these companies could fly their wares with NASA is 2019.

"The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery", the president said at the signing ceremony. When asked by Marina Koren from the Atlantic if the videos of Musk's drug use was a red flag in terms of SpaceX's ability to handle the NASA mission, Bridenstine replied: "I think those were not helpful".

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Draper is a not-for-profit which was involved with the Apollo Moon landings. The mission: to deliver scientific instruments to the moon, as a prelude to setting up permanent bases for people. The space agency will hire one of these nine companies to build the spacecraft that will carry the agency's equipment and experiments to the moon.

A layout of NASA's Moon to Mars mission. It also plans to construct a station in orbit around the moon called the Gateway.

"Potentially, this spacecraft could be the first thing to show that we can produce water fuel from the moon and potentially turn the moon into a refueling station for spacecraft to go deeper and deeper into space", said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. NASA astronauts last landed there in 1972, and no USA spacecraft has touched down on the lunar surface in one piece since then.

"Working with U.S. companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the moon and Mars", NASA said in a.

Draper will lead a team, including three other companies, to design, manufacture and launch a lunar lander - dubbed "Artemis-7" - to the moon.

In 2016, Moon Express became the first commercial space company to receive USA federal government authorization for a private mission to the Moon.

During a week when the InSight Lander touched down on Mars, researchers said the future is looking bright.

The nine companies awarded a seat at the table are a mix of established NASA contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, and space startups like OrbitBeyond.

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