NASA has awarded $253.5 million, split between three companies, to develop robotic landers that will carry science and technology payloads to the moon's surface as commercial enterprises, a a key element in the agency's Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, officials said Friday.
Intuitive Machines will try to land by July 2021 in Oceanous Procellarum, a dark spot on the moon visible from Earth.
A prime NASA govt employed in April to information technique for returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 has resigned, the area company stated on Thursday, the fruits of inner strife and dwindling congressional help for the lunar initiative.
NASA said it will decide exactly which experiments to send on the landers by the end of summer 2019.
NASA is committed to working with industry to enable the next round of lunar exploration.
Orbit Beyond will land in Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in a lunar crater, by September 2020, after being launched by one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets.
According to NASA, Astrobotic proposed making up to 14 payload deliveries to a large lunar crater called Lacus Mortis by July 2021.
While the relatively low-priced missions will lack the multiple layers of redundancy typical of NASA planetary missions, Clarke said "I have high confidence in these three companies".
"Given NASA is no longer pursuing the new mission directorate, Mark has opted to pursue other opportunities". But for those times when you're not procrastinating at work, the set also serves as a desk-friendly collectible allowing you to perch and display the lunar lander on an included replica of the moon's surface - complete with craters, footprints, and a United States flag.
Last fall, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said NASA chose nine companies for the CLPS program, including Astrobotic Technology Inc., Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace Inc., Intuitive Machines LLC, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Inc., Moon Express, and Orbit Beyond.