NASA Announces New Moon Partnerships with U.S. Companies

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"We are building a domestic American capability to get back and forth to the surface of the moon", said Jim Bridenstine, the NASA administrator. We saw, earlier this week, their InSight probe land on the surface of Mars and just yesterday, reports were made from a senior administrator that some big "Moon" news was on the way. NASA wants to return to the moon to make scientific discoveries, find resources and establish an off-Earth presence for humans.

In the framework of CLPS, the Agency will award multiple contracts for the lunar mission within the next 10 years.

NASA engineers are planning to begin work with its robotic arm soon, but are proceeding with caution.

Russian space agency Roscosmos recently revealed its plans to build up a human colony on the moon with 20 years, by 2040. Blue Origin hasn't been as specific, but Bezos has said the company is working on a large rocket called New Armstrong, named for the first man to set foot on the moon.

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The revived interest in the moon can be attributed in part to President Trump's Space Policy Directive which views the moon as a vital staging area for future missions to Mars, manned or otherwise. Even sending something small to the moon is no simple feat as the expiration of the Lunar X Prize demonstrated.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post broke the news that NASA would conduct reviews of workplace culture in both SpaceX and Boeing following Musk's behavior on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

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.

Zurbuchen said Thursday that a mobile lunar laboratory remains one of NASA's goals for Moon exploration, though such a mission would likely be developed through a more traditional process. He gave the example of retroreflectors - essentially, fancy mirrors that reflect light in the direction it came from.

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NASANASA plans to return to the moon with American companies.

The final plans will be completed by next year. Astrobotic and Moon Express were founded with the aim of winning that prize. The company previously competed and succeeded through two funding levels in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge X Prize in 2009.

The nine companies already have not-quite-finished hardware.

They said this process will also cut back on costs. "At the end of the day the risk is high, but the return is also very high for a low investment". Whenever they get to the moon, they may not be alone. The teaming with veteran USA commercial space companies provides broad and deep technical capabilities and experience in spacecraft development, thermal engineering, flight software and payload management that compliments Moon Express and its plans to offer regular commercial robotic expeditions to the Moon beginning in 2020. Some of its current technology developments include a universal reentry vehicle and a lunar lander.

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