Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Nasa turns to private sector for next moon mission

Harvest Moon rising Sept. 26 2018 Harvest Moon rising Sept. 26 2018
Sherry Houston | 02 December, 2018, 09:39

Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on Thursday that nine USA companies will compete in delivering experiments to the lunar surface.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine disclosed the CLPS contracts as part of US President Trump administration's efforts to encourage greater commercial investment in space exploration. Such a framework must include modules with life support systems and radiation protection for accommodation of astronauts, centers of space monitoring of the Earth, the means of energy supply and communications, space stands for experiments for the processing and use of lunar substances and of natural resources, stands for the development and testing of new space vehicles and technologies.

"The relatively small and low-priced payloads delivered via the CLPS program would be followed by more traditional medium- and large-class missions", said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Those companies are Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Mastern Space Systems, Moon Express, Draper and Orbit Beyond.

According to him, the program of lunar exploration will begin with the launch of automatic stations then planned preliminary orbit around the moon astronauts, then landing and deployment of infrastructure.

NASA would buy space on commercial robotic landers to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, missions that could start as early as next year, Xinhua news agency reported.

The providers will compete on cost and innovation so that NASA can accomplish more than ever, he said.

Nasa wants to see how it goes at the moon before committing to commercial delivery services at Mars.

Replying to the President's call, and consistent with the NASA Transition Authorisation Act of 2017, NASA submitted to Congress a plan to revitalise and add direction to NASA's enduring objective.

"The lunar program will be implemented in several stages by 2040", Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, said in a press release (in Russian) on Wednesday after a joint session with the Russian Academy of Sciences' space council. The last manned USA spacecraft to touch down on the moon was Apollo 17.

Elon Musk's days of smoking weed in public are, apparently, over.

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