NASA Announces New Moon Partnerships with U.S. Companies

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Astrobotic Technology: A Pittsburgh-based company focused on flying hardware systems into space for companies, governments, and universities. According to Nikolai Sevastyanov, the leader of Russia's TsNIIMash federal rocket and spaceсraft development corporation, the first stage would involve the deployment of a module to orbit the Moon.

Earlier this year, NASA shocked scientists by canceling the Resource Prospector mission, the only American lunar rover now in development. Bridenstine said that NASA wants a lot of companies involved to strengthen competition.

NASA announced the names of companies who'd be able to bid on contracts for lunar exploration projects as part of its Commercial Lunar Payload Services at a press conference today.

Most of the nine companies approved for bidding say they will not be ready to begin operations until at least 2021.

"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", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a news briefing.

Moon Express, Inc.is a privately funded USA commercial space company founded in 2010 with the goal of providing low cost, frequent access to the Moon for science, exploration and commerce while seeking new resources to benefit Earth.

The approach will allow NASA to cut costs, Bridenstine said. "It is about a colony on the surface of the moon".

"We are looking forward to higher-definition pictures to confirm this preliminary assessment", said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator of InSight at NASA. "That foil collected material from the sun and provided the best measurements of the sun we had for the next 25 years". The new space station would orbit the moon. "It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use".

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According to AP, the new partnerships are loosely modeled after NASA's successful commercial cargo deliveries to the International Space Station.

Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of when United States astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon.

Throughout the past moon missions, astronauts spent only 16 days at six sites on the surface. We've proven this with the ISS with commercial resupply and, soon, commercial crew.

NASA officials said the research will help get astronauts back to the moon more quickly and keep them safer once they're there.

The Gateway, a lunar orbiting platform, will be the farthest humans have ever lived from Earth.

Comparing future bids, NASA will study the technical feasibility, price and schedules offered by the nine companies.

Sadly, with NASA's schedules now stretching out beyond the most optimistic projections for the length of the Trump presidency, a change of direction could happen before humans get to prod at Moon rocks in situ. "We've had a number of conversations", he said adding, "I will tell you, he is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won't be seeing that again".

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