The US space agency announced on Thursday of nine private companies, mostly startups, who will provide $ 2.6 billion bid for contacts to build the NAV to 2019.
This 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 in the 1960s and 1970s.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described the announcement as "tangible progress in returning America to the Moon's surface to stay".
From the group, the only known name is Air Force Lockheed Martin, who has long recorded success with NASA and built an InSight lander who touched Monday on Mars.
Other are Astrobotic Technology, Inc.; Deep Space Systems; Draper; Firefly Aerospace, Inc.; Intuitive Machines, LLC; Masten Space Systems, Inc.; Moon Express; and Orbit Beyond.
"Lunar Payload's commercial services contracts are unspecified delivery, unspecified volume deals with a combined maximum contract value of $ 2.6 billion over the next 10 years," NASA said.
NASA has not provided any specifications for the bidding process, except that it will "consider a number of factors when comparing bids, such as technical feasibility, pricing, and schedule."
This decision marks a powerful change in NASA's work when it comes to US Moon requirements – although private companies have been using the International Space Station for years for spacecraft, and SpaceX and Boeing have been working on astronauts to carry the Moon in 2019.
Instead of launching a government-funded space program, such as Apollo, the US space agency will buy services, essentially becoming a buyer to private companies that build their own aircraft.
Access will allow NASA to cut costs, said Bridenstine.
Earlier this year, NASA canceled its only developing robotic vehicle to explore the Moon's surface, known as the Resource Prospector (RP) mission.
The vehicle has been around for decades to explore the polar region of the moon.
In 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would send humans back to the Moon, as a step on the road to send people to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA's current plan is to start rolling the gears to the moon and build an orbiting Lunar station in early 2022.
Until 2023, the first rocket would be worn by astronauts around the moon, in a distant orbit of Apollo missions.
The departure of the real astronauts on the moon probably will not happen by the end of 2020, NASA said. DM
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