Article image NASA chooses five new companies to partner with Artemis Program

20 Novembre, 2019, 20:20 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Illustration of Sierra Nevada Corporation's concept for a commercial lunar lander

The five companies, selected from eight that submitted proposals to this on-ramp, join the original nine CLPS companies selected by NASA almost a year ago: Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and OrbitBeyond.

These providers are specifically chosen to support delivery of heavier payloads, including "rovers, power sources, science experiments" and more, like the NASA VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover), which is hunting water on the Moon.

NASA has added five companies to the list of vendors that are cleared to bid on contracts for the agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The CLPS contracts are chracterized as "indefinite-delivery'indefinite-quantity contracts with a combined maximum contract value of $2.6 billion through November 2028".

"The CLPS initiative was created to leverage the expertise and innovation of private industry to get to the Moon quickly", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

SpaceX and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems will compete for orders encompassing launch and payload delivery services in support of NASA's Artemis mission to the moon in 2024, the agency said Tuesday.

"I would like to build up a schedule of at least two deliveries per year", Clarke said.

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Blue Origin, which recently unveiled its own ambitious plan to send a spaceship to the moon, received three contracts.

So as to accomplish that objective of landing Starship on the moon it should demolish prominent contenders like the Jeff Bezos-possessed Blue Origin, and Sierra Nevada Corp. This latest announcement expands upon the nine companies selected last November, bringing the total to 14. Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, said that Starhip will be able to deliver up to 100 metric tons of cargo to the surface of the moon and return an unspecified amount back to Earth.

Starship was always created to carry people, but early uncrewed efforts such as communication-satellite launches, CLPS flights and cargo missions to the Martian surface will prove out the vehicle, Shotwell said. But it surely does provide SpaceX some validation that if it totally develops the formidable Starship automotive, NASA might be a eager purchaser within the foreseeable future.

"There are also small players, and we are one of those", said Michael Sims, CEO and founder of Ceres Robotics.

By involving a variety of companies, both big and small, in the CLPS program and Artemis mission, NASA hopes to provide another boost the burgeoning private space industry. SNC's 55-year legacy of state-of-the art civil, military and commercial solutions includes delivering more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participation in more than 450 missions to space, including Mars.

Shotwell said SpaceX is excited about the CLPS partnership as Starship is created to carry people as well.

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