NASA has selected three commercial companies who will deliver science and technology payloads under Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). On Friday the American space agency announced that Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond, is the trio. Those profit-oriented companies will transport science equipment to the Moon in 2020 and 2021. The delivery of payloads will lay the foundations for American astronauts to land on Moon by 2024. NASA aims to build more progressive uncrewed landers along with crewed landers. It wants to carry American astronauts back to the Moon.
Astrobotic is a Pittsburgh based company which is developing Peregrine, a five-engine lander. It has the potential to deliver around 265 kg of payload to the Moon. NASA has offered an amount of $79.5 million to deploy its apparatus. On the other hand, Intuitive Machines is a Houston-based aerospace manufacturer. It has received $77 million to ferry up to five NASA payloads to the lunar surface. The equipment will touch Moon’s surface around June or July 2021. Last but not the least, Orbit Beyond is the New Jersey-based company which has won NASA’s $97 million deal. The company will deliver around four payloads by 2020.
Before this, in 1972 American astronauts have stepped on the Moon, which was the first part of NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans. Now, the space agency wants to accomplish the second phase. Thus it intends to set up a persistent human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. Even more, NASA hopes to open up the way for the first-ever crewed mission to Mars. In order to achieve all those goals, the space agency had announced payload requests to the nine CLPS service providers. Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, said next year, their primary science and technology demonstration would be present on the Moon. He added it would also assist the agency in sending Astronauts on the lunar land in the upcoming years.