NASA Reveals 9 Commercial Partners for Lunar Missions

NASA возобновляет Лунную программу

During a news conference with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen said that the speed at which the agency plans to complete its objective of reaching the moon is unprecedented. It marks an initial step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.

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

The companies will bid to deliver science and technology payloads through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts. The company's lunar lander, Peregrine, delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals at an industry-defining price of $1.2 million per kilogram.

In this approach, NASA would just be one of many customers, Bridenstine said.

A Nova Labs Robotics "BrainStorm Troopers" team member from Reston, Virginia asks a question during NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) announcement November 29, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Using commercial services, NASA will be able to "accelerate a robotic return to the moon, with upcoming missions targeted for two to three years earlier than previously planned". The Google Lunar X Prize, started in 2007, announced a $20 million award for the first privately funded spacecraft to land on the moon. Carpooling to the Moon - perhaps with academics or another company - should reduce the cost, he said. That kind of public and private partnership is the future, according to NASA.




Bridenstine said a question that always comes up is whether the culture at NASA contributed to those accidents. "At the end of the day the risk is high, but the return is also very high for a low investment". NASA is now working with commercial partners to carry astronauts to and from the space station.

"Navigating humans to the moon and back almost 50 years ago was an incredibly proud moment for the engineers and scientists at Draper", CEO Kaigham Gabriel said.

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.

The companies are Astrobotic Technology, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.

The reviews are needed to "ensure the companies are meeting NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment", Bridenstine said, noting the scrutiny is "necessary and appropriate" for human space exploration, The Atlantic reported.

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