NASA seeks industry help for human lunar landers

11 Février, 2019, 22:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • NASA begins search for partners to help land astronauts on the Moon

"We want to get started as quickly as possible".

The President's Space Policy Directive-1 galvanizes NASA's return to the Moon and builds on progress on the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, efforts with commercial and global partners, and knowledge gained from current robotic presence at the Moon and Mars. He also stated that the United States space agency contracted nine private space companies "to send cargo to the moon, with the ultimate goal being to develop landers that can take astronauts back to the surface of the Earth's satellite", according to The Independent.

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The first human exploration of Mars will come "after we've established our presence on the moon on a more permanent basis than we have in the past", he said. However the NASA chief clarified that sending humans to the moon again does not mean doing "the same as we did 50 years ago". Private sector innovation is key to these NASA missions, and the NextSTEP public-private partnership model is advancing capabilities for human spaceflight while stimulating commercial activities in space. The moon is a very manageable three days travel from Earth. A key aspect of this proposed approach is to use the Gateway for roundtrip journeys to and from the surface of the Moon. The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the moon in close detail. The construction of the first Russian lunar base is set to begin in 2034 and continue in 2035. Just as SpaceX has become a major NASA partner in short order, this new call out for cooperation with private industry could bring some new faces into the NASA fold and give the agency the boost it needs to send man to the Moon once more. This process, known as in-situ resource utilization or ISRU, will make the third element also refuelable and reusable.

The Yutu-2 Moon rover and Chang'e-4 lander would resume their science and exploration missions on February 28th and March 1st, respectively, according to the Chinese space agency release, with the rover needing to unfold solar panels and dissipate heat.

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