NASA selects 9 U.S. companies to make lunar robotic payloads

Lockheed Martin's McCandless Lunar Lander.

The White House Space Policy Directive 1, signed December 11, 2017, revised U.S. national space policy to integrate NASA's programs with private sector partners to return to the Moon before continuing on to human exploration of Mars.

NASA wants to see how it goes at the moon before committing to commercial delivery services at Mars.

The picture of McCandless floating by himself in the blackness of space, with the blue Earth in the background, is one of NASA's most iconic.

Now, Musk's small stunt on the sets of Joe Rogan's show might have been harmful but that did not go down well on his resume for NASA.

"This is a venture capital kind of effort", he told reporters Thursday.

Bridenstine also pledged to establish a manned base on Moon within a decade.

On Dec. 11, 2017, President Trump signed the new policy directive, officially making a return to the moon the near-term goal of America's human space program.

"We have been maturing our lander technology over the last 10 years in preparation for this day", Matthew Kuhns chief engineer with Masten Space Systems and SpaceFlight Insider contributor said when asked what this means for Masten.

Astronaut Stan Love revealed NASA was developing systems for astronaut training.

The announcement is part of NASA's larger goal to get back to the moon, and Bridenstine is enthusiastic about our lunar future. The company will provide any number of contributions towards NASA's mission to the Moon. "We also want to get there fast, so when the human-class landers are there, they have the opportunity to maximize every moment of time that they have", he added.

Speaking later to AFP, Bridenstine said the review shows how seriously NASA takes the safety of its astronauts.

"It will reduce risk".

'Working with United States companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the moon and Mars, ' NASA said in a press release. Under this framework, NASA hopes to have its next rocket combination, the Space Launch System and Orion capsule, fly to the Moon by 2020 with crewed flights planned for 2023.

Almost 50 years after Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the surface of the Moon, President Trump signed a mandate to send US astronauts back to the mysterious orb.

'We'll draw on the interests and capabilities of USA industry and global partners as American innovation leads astronauts back to the Moon and to destinations farther into the solar system, including Mars, ' said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine when the project was first announced in May.

  • Joey Payne