NASA will go from ‘Moon to Mars’ with new partnerships

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NASA announced several commercial partners Thursday in the USA space agency's quest to return humans to the moon - and eventually Mars.

Local media are invited to a roundtable discussion at 11 a.m. EST on November 30 at NASA's Langley Research Center to discuss how the center is working with commercial partners to support NASA's exploration of the Moon and Mars. They could also help NASA scout and study potential locations for bases, particularly in the eternally shadowed craters near the moon's poles that are filled with frozen water.

Astrobotic Technology has built a lander called Peregrine, and have obtained backing from NASA to create a standalone system to land on the moon.

"The directive I am signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery". The first flight could be next year; 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

But both of those companies may be heading to the moon, anyway.

Maston Space Systems: A Mojave-based company focused on reusable rocket technology and reliable planetary landers for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond. "They will compete for tasks that we're going to put out there weeks and months from now".

NASA's current plan is to start by sending gear to the Moon, and build an orbiting lunar station beginning in 2022.

As part of a push to continue American leadership in space, the Directive instructs NASA to develop a flexible deep space infrastructure to support the increasing complexity of missions. President Donald Trump wants USA astronauts to return to the Moon as a foundation for future Mars missions.

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In an announcement Thursday, the space agency named the organizations that are now eligible to bid on delivering science and technology payloads to the lunar surface.

NASA's CLPS programme will offer contracts worth a combined value of about $2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

29, NASA announced the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program in which the space agency hopes it will become one customer among many.

Likewise, Boeing and SpaceX are readying new commercial crew ships to carry astronaut to and from the space station starting next year.

Bridenstine went on to say that Musk "is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won't be seeing that again", according to an account of the meeting reported by The Atlantic.

Firefly Aerospace designs, manufactures and operates launch vehicles for the small satellite and Draper works to provide payload operations guidance systems for the lunar lander.

Bridenstein's comments come in the wake of probes he ordered into workplace culture at SpaceX and Boeing, the two companies that have multimillion-dollar contracts with the space agency to fly its astronauts.

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