Private enterprise will help NASA return to the moon

Jan Cross
December 7, 2018

NASA's going back to the moon.

"We believe that there is a lot of wonderful science that we can do on the surface of the Moon", Bridenstine said. Now, NASA is contracting out its next moon missions to companies that will do long-term scientific study and experiments.

The nine USA companies will compete for a percentage of Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts of almost $2.6 billion (€2.2 billion) over the next 10 years.

"We are announcing new moon partnerships with American companies", Jim Bridenstine, NASA's administrator, on Tuesday.

Moon Express: A Cape Canaveral-based company dedicated to expanding commercial opportunities in general on the Moon.

Russian space agency Roscosmos recently revealed its plans to build up a human colony on the moon with 20 years, by 2040.

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

But no U.S. 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.

NASA had "never done anything that fast" before, Zurbuchen said. The innovation of Americas aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve fantastic thingsonthe Moon and feed forward to Mars.

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NASA is soliciting proposals to deliver science and technology payloads, such as small rovers and instruments, to the lunar surface for eventual human exploration of the moon. The first flight could be next year; 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

All those willing to be paid by NASA to send cargo to the Moon will have to do so regularly as part of the new Commercial Lunar Payload Services.

Apart from building a human colony on Mars, scientists are also planning to build up a colony on the moon, and as per Russian scientists they will make it happen within 20 years.

NASA's Exploration Campaign includes leadership in low-Earth orbit, in orbit around the Moon and on its surface, and at destinations beyond, including Mars.

The space agency plans to work closely with these private companies and maybe more. The Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) has its first official partners.

Anatoly Petrukovich of the Russian Academy of Sciences said: "A trip to Mars with the current state of space travel technology is too complicated".

This illustration made available by NASA in 2018 shows the InSight lander drilling into 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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