NASA announces the names of companies that will be able to bid contracts for lunar exploration projects as part of the Lunar Commercial Payment Service at a press conference today.
Last year, the Trump administration signed the Space 1 Policy Regulation, which allows NASA to return humans to the surface of the Moon before people are sent to Mars. As part of that directive, companies can bid on contracts to develop services to provide new month payloads, through NASA Lunar Commercial Lunar Services.
Basically, NASA's new Moon strategy will involve the use of private companies to build goods they send to the Moon.
The companies announced today include Astrobotic Technology, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express, and Orbit Beyond. The contracts that can be offered by the company include the launch and landing of services and cargo delivery systems.
NASA hopes that other people will use this service as space travel into a business that can be accessed by private companies.
In the end, this upcoming mission will help NASA collect data to prepare to send a lander with someone in it to the surface of Mars.
Selected companies will compete in "costs and innovation," NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a press conference today. The first mission can be launched next year, because NASA recently called for a proposal for experiments to study the Moon.
This announcement and its press conference show a continuing shift in NASA's direction, driven by Space Policy Directive 1. This includes encouraging private investment where possible and shifting views to lunar science, including the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform and the return of humans to the Moon in the short term.
The company will bid a contract worth a combined value of US $ 2.6 ($ 4) billion.[NASA]