Science

NASA Select Three Lunar Lander Commercial Partners

NASA Select Three Lunar Lander Commercial Partners”

Three private USA aerospace firms have been chosen to build and operate unmanned spacecraft that will begin exploring the lunar surface in September 2020 in preparation for a human landing, NASA said in a statement.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first successful moon landing, Lego has teamed up with NASA to create a 1,087-piece building set of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander.

Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon within five years, NASA's Artemis lunar exploration plans are based on a two-phase approach: the first is focused on speed - landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 - while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028.

For the first time since the 1970s, the United States is planning to send equipment to the surface of the Moon in 2020 and 2021, in anticipation of a crewed lunar mission in 2024, NASA has said.

They should announce that by the end of the summer.

Astrobotic is headquartered in Pittsburgh and is one of three commercial moon landing service providers in the US selected to deliver payloads to the moon as part of its Artemis program.

The three company's awarded Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts are Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond. The potential payload will include instruments for conducting new lunar science, analyse what impact lander and astronaut activity has on the Moon, and help with navigation precision, among other things.

Future flights of the landers could potentially feature scaled-up versions of the spacecraft to bring full-size rovers and large science experiments to the moon. Intuitive Machines will fly five payloads on its Nova-C lander, with Orbit Beyond carrying four payloads on its own Z-01 lander. The Intuitive Machines lander is also scheduled to be launched by July 2021. "I truly believe commercial space in general, whether it's low Earth orbit or deeper space exploration is just beginning". The companies are lining up private partners for each mission, as well.

Orbit Beyond will land in Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in a lunar crater, by September 2020, after being launched by one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.

As part of its Artemis effort, the US wants to land the next man and the first woman on the Moon 2024. Astrobotic's executives said they are still evaluating launch providers.



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