NASA selects nine United States companies to vie for moon programme funding

02 December, 2018, 09:40 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • NASA pushing for continuous manned presence on moon ‘within 10yrs

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Thursday that nine United States companies will compete in delivering experiments to the lunar surface.

"Nasa 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", the agency had noted in a statement. It is an experimental part of the agency's plan for Americans to orbit the Moon starting in 2023, and land astronauts on the surface no later than the late 2020s.

NASA would buy space on commercial robotic landers to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, missions that could start as early as next year, Xinhua news agency reported.

Bridenstine said he has spoken with Musk recently that he does not want Nasa contractors engaging in questionable behaviour.

Nasa wants to see how it goes at the moon before committing to commercial delivery services at Mars. These missions could begin as early as 2019.

Deep Space Systems  NASA
Deep Space Systems NASA

The vehicle had been in development for about a decade to explore a polar region of the Moon. He cited a planned "open architecture" that would allow for a sustained ecosystem among Earth, the moon, and a planned lunar gateway orbiting the moon.

Replying to the President's call, and consistent with the NASA Transition Authorisation Act of 2017, NASA submitted to Congress a plan to revitalise and add direction to NASA's enduring goal.

In addition to Lockheed Martin, NASA selected Draper, which developed computers for the Apollo missions, Astrobotic Technology Inc, Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express and four others to potentially develop equipment for the programme.

"At the Council of RAS on space today discussed the complex concept of a common program of research and exploration of the moon, a sequence of automatic devices "Moon-25", "Luna-26", "Luna-27" - to the manned program, then the unfolding of the stations on the moon, observatories". The last manned USA spacecraft to touch down on the moon was Apollo 17.

In another instance, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed that Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and founder of Zozotown, Japan's largest online clothing retailer, will be the first private customer to journey around the Moon on the company's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

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