Private enterprise will help NASA return to the moon

Private enterprise will help NASA return to the moon

Kenneth Drake
December 2, 2018

In preparation a comeback to the Moon, and as part of the Lunar campaign announced in July, the space agency revealed this week the names of the nine companies that are eligible to bid for the delivery of cargo to Earth's satellite as part of future missions.

"(The) announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", Bridenstine said. For now, these names will compete for contracts totaling roughly $2.6 billion over a ten-year span, which is a lot cheaper than if NASA went to space alone. Robotic exploration of Mars has been underway for years, with the InSight mission landing on the surface this week and another rover landing planned for 2020.

NASA will evaluate bids based on technical feasibility, price, and schedule, among other things when considering contract awards. "These missions pave the way for a human return to the moon, as well as enable human exploration of Mars and beyond".

NASA plans to have astronauts orbiting the moon again by 2023, with a landing a few years later.

Later, reusable landers that go back and forth to the surface of the moon will be used to ensure continuous human presence there which they aim to achieve within the next decade.

Bridenstine said it will be up to the companies to arrange their own rocket rides. There was President Trump's Space Policy Directive One for one, and the involvement of both commercial and global partners. Some of its current technology developments include a universal reentry vehicle and a lunar lander.

NASA's going back to the moon.

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However, according to NASA's plans, by 2040, the U.S. space agency would already have put humans on Mars, so Russian Federation is falling behind, to some extent. Working with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Both SpaceX and Boeing hold multibillion-dollar contracts to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

NASA Administrator James Bridenstine delivers remarks as he tours the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Monday, Aug. 13, 2018.

"The Moon is full of secrets that we don't know yet", Thomas Zurbuchen, who oversees scientific activities for NASA, said as cited by ARSTechnica.

The ultimate goal of Commercial Crew is to revive U.S. spaceflight capabilities that the agency lost when it retired the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

In addition to Lockheed Martin, NASA selected Draper, which developed computers for the Apollo missions, Astrobotic Technology Inc, Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express and four others to potentially develop equipment for the programme. It also plans to construct a station in orbit around the moon called the Gateway.