NASA has planned to partner with US aerospace firms for its mission to deploy robotic landers on the Moon. NASA is finally prepared to send astronauts to the lunar surface after more than 40 years! The agency has enlisted nine US aerospace companies who are competing to be a part of the project.
The nine winning companies include Moon Express, Draper, Intuitive Machines, Firefly Aerospace, Deep Space Systems, Lockheed Martin, Astrobotic, Orbit Beyond, and Masten Space Systems. Some of these companies are small companies who haven’t yet put anything in space. However, few notable companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are not a part of the selected companies, even though they showed interest in the program.
NASA has to select from the finalist companies who will be the part of NASA CLPS program. CLPS stands for Commercial Lunar Payload Services. Whenever NASA decides to put small payloads of scientific instruments on Moon’s surface, the winning company will get a chance to be a part of the program and also win a combined contract value of $2.6 billion for the next decade.
“The innovation of America’s aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, is going to help us achieve amazing things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press release.