Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic Technology Among Companies Eligible To Bid On Moon Mission Contracts

NASA selects 9 US companies to make lunar robotic payloads

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced Thursday that Draper and eight other U.S. companies, ranging from tiny startups to defense giant Lockheed Martin, will compete for $2.6 billion in NASA contracts.

The space agency announced that it had selected nine U.S. companies to develop technologies for lunar deliveries launched from Earth.

"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.

In a new step forward, NASA announced Thursday that nine companies in the United States are eligible to bid on $2.6 billion worth of contracts over the next 10 years to deliver services to the moon.

Commercial maintenance program lunar payloads (also known as CLPS) based on the space policy Directive 1, signed by President Donald trump in December of past year.

Moon Express began global expansion in 2018 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Space Agency and the establishment of strategic partnerships with a number of Canadian space companies.

Including partners in their moon plans will allow NASA to launch more frequent, cost-effective trips to the moon, which means that more frequent experiments will be able to land, Bridenstine said.

"From there we want reusable landers that go back and forth to the surface of the moon".

Bridenstine said a question that always comes up is whether the culture at NASA contributed to those accidents.

Likewise, Boeing and SpaceX are readying new commercial crew ships to carry astronaut to and from the space station starting next year. In 2017, Moon Express introduced its MX family of modular, scalable robotic exploration vehicles created to collapse the cost of access to the Moon and other deep space destinations.

Before NASA returns humans to the moon, however, the space agency plans to send an array of scientific payloads - science experiments, in other words - to the lunar surface. In a news release, NASA said that "w$3 orking with us companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars". The first such flight could come as early as next year.

NASA administrators may have listened to Frank Sinatra's iconic tune, "Fly Me to the Moon", too many times in recent months, as the space agency announced it is returning to the natural satellite.

Lockheed Martin is planning for a massive lander that could ferry four astronauts from the Lunar Gateway to the moon, while Deep Space Systems is an aerospace engineering company developing the Mars Phoenix lander.

Both private companies built their own space systems under NASA's guidance after the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

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