Science

Next U.S. moon landing will be by private firms

Next U.S. moon landing will be by private firms”

"We went with a really broad set of criteria", he said, adding that those criteria "ask questions about the overall liability of the companies, their likelihood to be able to deliver these services, but we did not go in very deep depth relative to the technical capability".

In an announcement Thursday, the space agency named the organizations that are now eligible to bid on delivering science and technology payloads to the lunar surface. These contracts will be geared to filling the needs of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program over the next ten years of its development.

The companies selected range from a major aerospace corporation, Lockheed Martin, to little-known startups, and from companies that were longtime competitors in the now-expired Google Lunar X Prize for commercial lunar landers to those that had not previously publicly expressed plans for such landers.

NASA now is building a huge new rocket, the Space Launch System, and the Orion deep space capsule to carry astronauts back to lunar orbit in the early 2020s and eventually to a Lunar Gateway space station that will serve as an outpost for visiting astronauts and a jumping off point for human and robotic flights to and from the lunar surface.

Uncrewed lunar missions could begin launching as early as next year, with the goal of sending two payloads to the lunar surface every year for the next 10 years. The space program has also reportedly floated the idea of selling tourists tickets to space.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Associate Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen welcome representatives from nine private companies that will be involved in NASA's future missions to the moon and Mars. "Working with US companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars", NASA said in a statement.

We will remind, 49 years ago, American astronaut Neil Armstrong the first of the humans stepped on the lunar surface.

Zurbuchen said Thursday that a mobile lunar laboratory remains one of NASA's goals for Moon exploration, though such a mission would likely be developed through a more traditional process.

The agency hopes that this new program will help bring the US back to the surface of the moon.

Russian space agency Roscosmos recently issued a press release and unveiled their lunar mission plans. "Our investment is low because we have other people who are investing", said Bridenstine.

Through new partnerships with private companies, NASA aims to ramp up its efforts to return to the moon.

But with this program, NASA is looking to replicate the success of SpaceX, the private rocket company led by Elon Musk. This image of the moon was taken above Newfoundland from the International Space Station. The company will provide any number of contributions towards NASA's mission to the Moon. On Monday, we landed on Mars.



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