Tencent Technology News, November 30 news, according to foreign media reports, NASA announced today that it will cooperate with nine American aerospace companies to launch a small robot lander to the moon, which is to send humans to the surface of the moon again. The first phase of the plan.
These companies are now included in NASA's “financing pool”, and whenever the agency wants to deliver small payloads (such as scientific instruments) to the lunar surface, it will choose from these companies.
Companies that are favored by NASA include Lockheed Martin, Astrobotic, Moon Express, Masten Space Systems, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond.
Many of these companies are small, fledgling airlines that haven't put anything into space yet. There are also some well-known companies that have not joined the ranks, including SpaceX and Jeff · Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, although they all showed interest in the project.
These lunar cooperation programs are an important part of the NASA CLPS project, and CLPS is an abbreviation for “Business Lunar Payload Service”. In April of this year, NASA issued a notice to companies interested in participating in the project, and the bidding deadline is October.
The CLPS project aims to deliver small robotic spacecraft made by private companies to the lunar surface as early as 2019. These landers need to carry at least 22 pounds (or 10 kilograms) of scientific equipment to collect more data about the lunar surface.
NASA wants to know what resources are on the moon. For example, water ice on the surface of the moon can theoretically be used as rocket fuel and used for other purposes in future human missions. In addition, NASA still hopes to do some scientific research on the moon.
Thomas Zidbuchen, deputy director of the NASA Scientific Mission Council, said that studying the composition of the moon can tell us more about the formation of the solar system, and the far end of the moon provides a unique vantage point for studying the universe. In fact, the CLPS project will be overseen by the Scientific Task Force, not the Human Exploration Department, although it is a pioneer in human missions.
Zebchen said at the press conference: "From the beginning, my experience told me that human exploration and robot exploration can work together to create opportunities that were previously unimaginable. "But in the end, the CLPS program will be the first step in establishing a sustainable long-term goal for NASA on the moon.
It all stems from the Space Policy Directive-1, which was signed by President Trump in December 2017, instructing NASA to send humans to the surface of the moon again. Since then, NASA has developed a complex strategy to achieve this goal, including the creation of new space stations and the development of new lander technologies in collaboration with industry and international agencies.
Over the next decade, NASA hopes to build a space station called “Gateway” on the lunar orbit as an outpost for astronauts and spacecraft to and from the lunar surface. At the same time, NASA plans to work with private companies to create a series of lunar landers, including eventually developing landers that will send humans to the surface of the moon.
The purpose of NASA is to provide technical experience for the study of large robotic landers and landers capable of carrying astronauts through the small robotic lander created by the CLPS project.
NASA did not provide much detail and did not explain why these companies were chosen. But now these companies have become the “finalists” of the CLPS project, and they will continue to develop landers to participate in NASA's competition to send payloads to the moon.
So far, the contracts that these companies will compete for will be worth $2.6 billion over the next 10 years. NASA Director Jim · Jim Bridenstine said at a press conference: "We will buy this service, which will make us one of the many customers who share the cost. This will also encourage multiple suppliers to compete on cost and innovation so that we can achieve better cost-effectiveness. ”
However, there are no specific terms for how much service NASA will need and the value of each task. If NASA chooses these 9 companies to carry payloads to the moon, they will be responsible for finding the rockets themselves. Zebchen said NASA is likely to help develop landers by providing additional funds to these companies, although no agreement has yet been reached.
Some companies have actually partnered with other companies to form a team to provide a lunar surface ride. For example, Draper previously announced a partnership with Japanese startups ispace, General Atomics and Spaceflight Industries, all of which will jointly develop landers for NASA.
In addition, Moon Express announced today that it will also work with Sierra Nevada Corporation, NanoRacks, Paragon Space Development Corporation and Odyssey Space Research to build lunar landers.
However, NASA does not fully hope that these nine partners will successfully create a viable spacecraft that can land lightly on the moon. Bridenstin said: "We hope that they will all succeed, but this kind of thing can't be guaranteed, because what they do is different from anything we have done before." ”
But Brittenstein also pointed out that even landing on the moon is crucial. He added: “Our goal is to learn as much as possible to help this emerging industry develop in the United States. ”