NASA has introduced five more companies into the Artemis lunar program, and these companies will be designing what they think is the best moon lander for an astronaut return trip.
NASA has selected the following companies to join its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS): SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp., Ceres Robotics and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. The basis of this program is that private companies will be able to compete for contracts to deliver NASA science to the surface of the moon. This means that the previously listed companies will all be designing their lunar lander, along with nine other NASA selected companies.
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, "American aerospace companies of all sizes are joining the Artemis program. Expanding the group of companies who are eligible to bid on sending payloads to the moon's surface drives innovation and reduces costs to NASA and American taxpayers. We anticipate opportunities to deliver a wide range of science and technology payloads to help make our vision for lunar exploration a reality and advance our goal of sending humans to explore Mars."
The lunar lander designs will range in size and function. For example, SpaceX's Starship vehicle is quite large, but this is so it can land multiple rovers on the moon. In comparison, smaller ships such as the one by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems can only bring smaller one-use probes. As development pushes towards the moon launch date, we should expect a bunch of different designs being shown off from these companies.
- Blue Origin, Kent, Washington
- Ceres Robotics, Palo Alto, California
- Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colorado
- SpaceX, Hawthorne, California
- Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc., Irvine, California
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