Moon Express Announces Strategic Partners for Commercial Lunar Payload Services

Jo Lloyd
December 2, 2018

Bridenstine said he has spoken with Musk recently that he does not want Nasa contractors engaging in questionable behaviour.

"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", said Bridenstine.

Moon Express, 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 space agency announced that it had selected nine USA companies to develop technologies for lunar deliveries launched from Earth. "You heard about our capability that we have of developing multi-functional materials and structures that will not only provide for an environment that will protect our astronauts from damage, but also provide the capability to protect them from radiation", Acting Deputy Director for Structures and Materials Jonathan Ranson said. "That legacy continues as we return to the moon and beyond with CLPS".

NASA did say its solar arrays have deployed, which is good news since the lander runs on solar energy. The long-range goal remains eventual piloted flights to Mars, but only after first using the space station, the moon and lunar orbit as technology test beds to reduce or retire risks. "That foil collected material from the sun and provided the best measurements of the sun we had for the next 25 years". We're going with worldwide partnerships on a level never seen before.

NASA has said it expects work on a new space station laboratory to start as soon as 2022.

"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.

NASA announced Thursday that it would be partnering with private companies to send probes and eventually humans to the moon.

In response, NASA submitted a plan to Congress: the National Space Exploration Campaign, which "calls for human and robotic exploration missions to expand the frontiers of human experience and scientific discovery of the natural phenomena of Earth, other worlds and the cosmos", the agency said.

Bridenstine confirmed he ordered safety reviews of SpaceX and Boeing, another NASA contractor, after Musk smoked on the podcast, but he said that was always the plan. According to a press conference Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, held this Wednesday, Russia is set to establish a Moon colony by 2040. He cited a planned "open architecture" that would allow for a sustained ecosystem among Earth, the moon, and a planned lunar gateway orbiting the moon.

Two advantages of the partnerships include getting US astronauts back to the moon more quickly and keeping them safer after they arrive.

It's also unknown what NASA would do if SpaceX launches its first unmanned missions to Mars with BFR in 2022, followed by the first crewed missions to the red planet in 2024.

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