Science

Private Companies to Make Next Moon Landing

Private Companies to Make Next Moon Landing”

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

The picture of McCandless floating by himself in the blackness of space, with the blue Earth in the background, is one of NASA's most iconic.

As The Next Web pointed out, the stars and stripes, stuck into the rocky landscape almost 50 years ago, remains the only territorial banner on the Moon's surface.

But at a gathering with reporters at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., yesterday (Nov. 29), Bridenstine said he himself got the wheels turning, according to The Atlantic's Marina Koren, who was there. For example, its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter division wants to coordinate landing dates with commercial landers to observe their dust plumes to see how they disturb the environment. Some of these have already made successful voyages to the Moon and Mars.

Aside from Lockheed Martin, most of the aerospace firms are not too well known. The company was part of the Apollo moon missions that began in the '60s. NASA, meanwhile, expects to have a continuous manned presence on the Moon within a decade. You might recognize these companies from the Lunar X Prize. His Space Policy Directive 1, signed last December, directs NASA to collaborate with the private sector in returning to the Moon en route to a longer-term mission to Mars.

The McCandless Lunar Lander is named after the late astronaut and former Lockheed Martin employee Bruce McCandless, who in 1984 performed the first free-flying spacewalk without a lifeline to the orbiting shuttle, using a jetpack built by the company.

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Work could start as soon as 2025, according to a statement by Yevgeny Mikrin, head designer at the country's space program.

The theme of encouraging interest in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) was strongly highlighted during Thursday's announcement with the FIRST Robotics students and other educational groups incorporated into the program. "Each are entrepreneurial pioneers of commercial space bringing key capabilities to the table, and we look forward to working with them in offering robotic expeditions to the Moon for science, commerce and exploration".

Bridenstine said it will be up to the companies to arrange their own rocket rides.

The first could fly as early as next year, and NASA hopes to send two payloads every year for the next 10 years. "The innovation of America's aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve fantastic things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars".

With some of the companies in NASA's list still bruised from trying - and failing - to win Google's Lunar X Prize, the latter point will weigh heavily in NASA's thinking. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.



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