The first company plans to land on the moon as early as next year.
News: Today NASA Announced that three companies have been selected to take the agency's experiments to the lunar surface as part of the Commercial Lunar Cargo Services (CLPS) program. Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond are the lucky winners. They say they will send their landing modules to the moon in 2020 and 2021. The effort will help inform the United States' momentum to humans return to the moon in 2024, also known as mugwort.
The process: The companies were selected from a list of nine that were selected in November to compete for up to $ 2.6 billion in contracts to transport the payload to the Moon. "All previous activities on the Moon have been funded by superpowers", John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic he told us last year. "What does it mean that a private company can land there and earn money?"
Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond plan to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, while Astrobotic has not yet selected its launch provider.
Whats Next: There are many more contracts to come, for projects that include the construction of Gateway (a lunar orbital post) and rockets to support the launches. "Next year, our initial science and technology research will be conducted on the lunar surface, which will help support the first woman and the next man to the moon in five years," said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Investing in these commercial landing services is also another important step in building a commercial space economy beyond low-Earth orbit."