Draper Tapped For NASA's 'Space Race' To Go Back To The Moon

Elon Musk

Elon Musk smoking weed on the"Joe Rogan Experience podcast in September. Joe Rogan Experience YouTube

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Thursday that nine us companies will compete to deliver experiments to the lunar surface.

CLPS will enable the first NASA payloads to be soft-landed on the lunar surface since the Apollo Program, and open a new era in science and exploration with regular commercial deliveries of uncrewed payload to the lunar surface.

"Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019", NASA said in an earlier news release.

They include some longtime players in the aerospace industry, like Lockheed Martin, but are mostly newer names with start-up cultures, like Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic and Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California.

Prior to the announcement, Bridenstine spoke on The Hill TV's "Rising" program, emphasizing the objective of the Space Policy Directive's mission to build the capabilities of not only returning to the Moon, but stay as a sustained presence. "It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use", the president said during the signing. As the event continued, he and Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, detailed the numerous technical capabilities required for the Moon mission that the private companies will be competing to develop. "We will increase our efforts to expand our living sphere into space".

NASA released a draft request for proposals April 27 that called for US companies to "introduce new technologies to deliver payloads to the Moon", NASA said when announcing the initial request for proposals. The company is also an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST Program.

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"We believe that there is a lot of wonderful science that we can do on the surface of the Moon", Bridenstine said. NASA wants to see how it goes at the moon before committing to commercial delivery services at Mars.

SpaceIL, an Israeli company and former X Prize contestant, says it will send a robotic lander to the moon's surface with SpaceX's help early next year.

The McCandless Lunar Lander is named after the late astronaut and former Lockheed Martin employee Bruce McCandless.

Specifically, Zurbuchen said expectations should not exceed 50 percent. Now, within hours after NASA announced their plans to take humans to the moon, Russian Federation has revealed that they intend to build a lunar base by 2040.

On the other hand, NASA's initial plan in the lunar mission will be building a space station called "Gateway" which will orbit around the moon.

Russian space agency Roscosmos recently revealed its plans to build up a human colony on the moon with 20 years, by 2040. The company will provide any number of contributions towards NASA's mission to the Moon.

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