These deals set the foundation for a future in lunar business, infrastructure and technology.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has named the galaxy’s first three commercial companies destined to take their business to the moon as their equipment soars above the clouds to prepare for the 2024 human landing.
The trio of small companies: Intuitive Machines, from Texas; Astrobotic, from Pennsylvania; and New Jersey’s Obit Beyond will be transporting NASA science and research cargo to the moon. According to NASA officials, the team’s first mission could launch within the next few years.
In a video, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, "Today, NASA becomes a customer of commercial partners who will deliver our science instruments and our lunar technology to the moon.
“The landers and instruments they deliver — and the science, technology and research that will be done in the immediate future — will prepare the way for humanity's return to the moon by 2024," he said.
Each company will be given anywhere from US$77 million to US$97 million to fund research and construction of their landers. These machines will carry NASA rovers and payloads.
These deals set the foundation for a future in lunar business, infrastructure and technology which NASA, as well as many others, hope to create.
"NASA's vision for human habitation on the moon will drive the cislunar economy to grow exponentially," said TeamIndus, a partner with Orbit Beyond, in a blog post.