NASA selects 9 USA companies to make lunar robotic payloads

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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Thursday that nine us companies will compete to deliver experiments to the lunar surface.

US-based space agency NASA on Thursday announced nine commercial American companies in a partnership to develop lunar robotic landers in the coming decade.

"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement published on November 29.

"Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019", NASA said in an earlier news release. That will depend on the success of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

Firefly Aerospace designs, manufactures and operates launch vehicles for the small satellite and Draper works to provide payload operations guidance systems for the lunar lander.

The last USA mission to the moon was Apollo 17 in 1972.

"The reality is, we're getting ready to launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since 2011, and we want to make sure we have a cultural assessment, a safety assessment of each of our providers", he said.

"We are going", is an important part NASA's motto for its return to the Moon, and to get there, the space agency will need corporate partners. 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. Now, within hours after NASA announced their plans to take humans to the moon, Russian Federation has revealed that they intend to build a lunar base by 2040. In 2017, Moon Express introduced its MX family of modular, scalable robotic exploration vehicles created to collapse the cost of access to the Moon and other deep space destinations.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for the science directorate, said there were already many experiments that scientists know they want to send to the moon.

A spokesperson for SpaceX declined to comment on Bridenstine's remarks, the report said.

"Right now we're building a space station, we call it 'Gateway, ' that's going to be in orbit around the moon - think of it as a reusable command module where we can have human presence in orbit around the moon", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told The Hill.

"We're returning to the Moon, preparing to go beyond to Mars".

Draper is a not-for-profit which was involved with the Apollo Moon landings.

Mr Musk's SpaceX is one of two firms contracted to build a shuttle that will fly United States astronauts to the International Space Station from American territory - something that was ended in 2011.

The White House Space Policy Directive 1, signed December 11, 2017, revised U.S. national space policy to integrate NASA's programs with private sector partners to return to the Moon before continuing on to human exploration of Mars.