NASA returns to the moon, but this time it flies personally.
The Space Agency has announced that it has selected nine US companies to develop lunar delivery technologies launched from the Earth. Companies will run for contracts to deliver scientific and technological loads to enable people to return to the Moon, and eventually to Mars.
"We're back to the Moon, preparing to go to Mars, we're going, we're NASA," the agency said on Twitter.
One of the key elements of NASA's future mission to Mars will be the use of the moon as a gateway.
"This will reduce the risk, which will reduce costs," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a recent Politics interview, "because everything you can do to ultimately test the moon reduces our price to Mars.
The next year will mark the 50th anniversary of US astronaut Neil Armstrong for the first time on the moon. However, only 12 astronauts ever stood on the Moon's surface.
Nine US companies will compete for a percentage of Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) commercial services for nearly $ 2.6 billion (€ 2.2 billion) over the next 10 years.
Privatized contracts will act as a substitute for NASA to build those capacities.
"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in returning America to the Moon's surface to remain," announced Bridenstine during a public event held on Thursday.
"The innovations of American aerospace companies, linked to our great goals in science and human exploration, will help us achieve incredible things on the moon and move forward on Mars."
NASA expects these lunar burdens to be removed by 2019.
What did NASA choose?
- Astrobotics Technology, Inc.: Pittsburgh
- Deep Space Systems: Littleton, Colorado
- Draper: Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Firefly Aerospace, Inc.: Cedar Park, Texas
- Intuitive Machines, LLC: Houston
- Lockheed Martin Prostor: Littleton, Colorado
- Masten Space Systems, Inc.: Mojave, California
- Moon Express: Cape Canaveral, Florida
- Orbit Beyond: Edison, New Jersey