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NASA selects nine US companies to apply for funding for the monthly program

FILE PHOTO: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine poses the photographer after interview with Reuters at NASA's headquarters in Washington, USA, August 21, 2018. REUTERS / Yuri Gripas / Photo file

NASA appointed nine US companies Thursday, including Lockheed Martin Corp., to compete for funding under the renewed long-term satellites program for the space agency, a private public technology development company that will explore lunar surface.

Businesses, some of which will develop small launch vehicles and robotic roveries over the next 10 years, will be opened for $ 2.6 billion within the commercial Lunar Payload service of the National Aviation and Space Administration.

As early as 2022, NASA expects to begin construction on a new Space Station laboratory that will be an orbiting moon and act as a mission pit in the deeper parts of our solar system, such as Mars.

"When we go to the Moon, we want to be a buyer of many customers on a robust market between the country and the moon," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told the news Thursday.

"Moon loads can fly on these contracted missions by 2019," NASA said in an earlier press release.

With Lockheed Martin, NASA has selected Draper, who has developed computers for the Apollo mission, Astrobotic Technology Inc., Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express, and four more to potentially develop the equipment for the program.

Reporting Joey Roulette in Orland, Florida; edit Bill Berkrot

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