NASA looks to outsource Moon delivery services

The European Russian ExoMars rover expected to be launched in 2020 will drill a couple of yards down into the planet for chemical fossils. Planet Earth is working on three more landers and two orbiters

NASA announced several commercial partners Thursday in the USA space agency's quest to return humans to the moon - and eventually Mars.

Musk's brief hit of a joint offered to him by Joe Rogan in a video broadcast on YouTube on September 6 "was not appropriate", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters at a news briefing in Washington Thursday, according to a report in Fortune.

The CLPS programme, which is operated by Nasa's science mission directorate, is meant to buy end-to-end payload services between Earth and the lunar surface using fixed priced contracts.

But no United States spacecraft has touched down on the Moon since the last Apollo mission in 1972, and it's been exactly 50 years since NASA last sent a robotic mission to the lunar surface. The agency said it will consider a number of factors when comparing bids, such as price, schedule and most importantly, technical feasibility. Sean Mahoney, chief executive of Masten, called the award a long-awaited milestone for the company, which won part of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges prize program, almost a decade ago.

Essentially, NASA's new Moon strategy will involve using private companies to build the stuff they send their experiments to the Moon on.

The providers will compete on cost and innovation so NASA can accomplish more than ever, he said. It was was founded in 2008 by Carnegie Mellon University professor Red Whitaker, and is developing robots to operate on the moon and other planets.

Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said the moon is full of secrets and full of resources that can help supply human missions on the lunar surface, such as water. NASA will later compete individual task orders among the companies to fly specific payloads to the moon.




In Paris, the French space agency CERN said everything seems fine for the moment, and that it is up to NASA to communicate with the SEIS quake-sensing instrument.

While President Barack Obama told NASA to focus on sending astronauts to Mars, largely bypassing the moon, the Trump administration has made the moon a priority, although astronauts would likely not arrive until late in the 2020s.

Mr Musk's SpaceX is one of two firms contracted to build a shuttle that will fly USA astronauts to the International Space Station from American territory - something that was ended in 2011.

A spokesperson for SpaceX declined to comment on Bridenstine's remarks, the report said.

A layout of NASA's Moon to Mars mission.

The InSight lander was built by Lockheed Martin, a private us company.

Astrobiotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh; Draper, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Firefly Aerospace Inc., Cedar Park, Texas; Intuitive Machines, Houston; Masten Space Systems Inc., Mojave, California; Moon Express, Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Orbit Beyond, Edison, New Jersey.

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