Sci-tech

NASA Chooses Nine Companies to Bid on Flying to Moon

NASA Chooses Nine Companies to Bid on Flying to Moon

NASA on Thursday named nine US companies, including Lockheed Martin Corp, that will compete for funding under the space agency's renewed long-term moon program, a private-public undertaking to develop technology that will explore the lunar surface.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday in Washington, D.C., NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Musk's behavior "was not appropriate". In a news release, NASA said that "w$3 orking with us companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars".

NASA is apparently in a hurry - the agency said that selected contractors could begin flying missions to the moon as early as next year.

It is worth noting that on 26 November the spacecraft Mars InSight landing on Mars.

The nine companies range from startups to aerospace giants, reported Space News, which added that while they are eligible for future contracts to deliver payloads to the surface of the moon, there is "no guarantee of business for any of them".

Firefly Aerospace designs, manufactures and operates launch vehicles for the small satellite and Draper works to provide payload operations guidance systems for the lunar lander.

The Commercial Crew Program, developed under President Barack Obama, will pay companies to transport human crews. The company previously competed and succeeded through two funding levels in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge X Prize in 2009.

Lockheed, Draper among NASA partners for new lunar payload services

The company is also an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST Program. "This is like a venture capital kind of effort where at the end of the day, the risk is high but the return is also very high for a low investment".

With Peregrine's robust delivery capacity, the lunar surface is open to NASA and the commercial market for resource prospecting, planetary science investigations, technology maturation, and other activities.

The move is part of NASA's goal of sending people to the Moon in the next decade, for the first time since the Apollo era of the 1960s and '70s.

'We're building the next chapter of American exploration, returning to the moon - to stay, ' the space agency announced. SpaceX has been a hugely valuable partner for NASA, but launching unmanned cargo ships into space is one thing.

NASA continues to study the Gateway with US industry and global partners for a configuration that could allow for earlier crew expeditions, more science and technology demonstration capabilities, and increased room for astronauts to live and work.

Astrobotic Technology has built a lander called Peregrine, and have obtained backing from NASA to create a standalone system to land on the moon.

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