Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Science | By

NASA plans new partnerships to return humans to moon after 46 years

NASA plans new partnerships to return humans to moon after 46 years

Business Insider has independently confirmed that a company called Astrobotic Technology will be one of those partners. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, have been making space station shipments since 2012. The Draper team includes General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems; ispace, inc.; and Spaceflight Industries.

As per the head designer at Russia's space program, Yevgeny Mikrin, working on this project could begin by 2025.

The lander is based on designs for Martian landers the company produced for NASA, including the InSight lander that touched down on Mars Nov. 26.

But the newly announced contracts for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program came with a ceremony and extra fanfare given the newly energized push to return to the moon with help from private companies under the Trump administration.

While NASA's commercial partners remain firmly on the ground, with their workplaces under review by a nervous agency, Russian Federation has no such worries.

"The Artemis-7 design will fly multiple times before its first CLPS mission", explained Seamus Tuohy, principal director of space systems, Draper.


"These nine companies will bid on and be paid through task orders issued by NASA starting in the near future", Warner wrote. NASA explained to TheBlaze that all of these companies were now on contract with the agency, and that NASA would look at "cost, schedule and technical feasibility" when it came to issuing task orders for specific missions.

The point is that NASA is continuing to embrace commercial space capabilities whenever possible. NASA wants to return to the moon to make scientific discoveries, find resources and establish an off-Earth presence for humans. Some of the companies are expected to develop small launch vehicles or robotic rovers to explore its surface.

Bridenstine recently said he wants to have humans on Mars by the mid-2030s.

The approach is unusual for NASA, said Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who said NASA usually maintains control down to the "last rivet of a spacecraft".

Bridenstine and Zurbuchen emphasize that they do not expect all of these companies to succeed - the success rate may be only 50 percent. Asked if NASA's stakeholders at the White House and on Capitol Hill agree with that philosophy, they replied everyone has been fully briefed.

The agency now partners with the private sector for other missions, including human transport to the International Space Station (ISS) wherein SpaceX and Boeing are developing capsules for that goal, and the Directive expands that to include deep space missions.

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