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"When we go to the Moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the Earth and the Moon", Mr Bridenstine said.
The nine United States 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.
"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the moon's surface to stay".
Still, Earth's only natural satellite is being explored by other nations; China's Chang'e 4 and 5 missions, which would deliver a rover to the Moon, and return rock samples from the surface, is slated to launch next year. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, have been making space station shipments since 2012.
The announcement is part of NASA's larger goal to get back to the moon, and Bridenstine is enthusiastic about our lunar future. The innovation of Americas aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve incredible thingsonthe Moon and feed forward to Mars.
Under Space Policy Directive-1, the agency will lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon together with commercial and worldwide partners. His Space Policy Directive 1, signed last December, directs NASA to collaborate with the private sector in returning to the Moon en route to a longer-term mission to Mars.
The agency said the program was "one of the first steps toward long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars". "When you combine those investments with the extensible capability of the team and our history of delivering humans to the moon and bringing them back, we're positioned well to meet NASA's mission needs".
The Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts to be awarded by NASA have a combined maximum value of $2.6 billion during the next 10 years.
Bridenstine recently said he wants to have humans on Mars by the mid-2030s.
The McCandless Lunar Lander is named after the late astronaut and former Lockheed Martin employee Bruce McCandless, who in 1984 performed the first free-flying spacewalk without a lifeline to the orbiting shuttle, using a jetpack built by the company.
The new partnership is modeled after another NASA program that uses private companies to transport supplies to the International Space Station, or ISS.