NASA pushing for continuous manned presence on moon ‘within 10yrs’

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NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced that nine private-sector aerospace companies, including Lockheed Martin, will develop the spacecraft and technology to get the USA back to the moon. Draper will manage the team and oversee the payload, flight computer, and navigation system for their lander, to be called Artemis-7.

NASA hopes that others will use these services as space travel becomes an endeavour accessible to private corporations.

NASA along with Musk's SpaceX and Boeing is developing transportation systems that would allow the United States to fly astronauts from American soil for the first time since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

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. This includes encouraging private investment where possible and shifting sights to lunar science, including the Gateway Lunar Orbital Platform and a human return to the Moon in the short term.

The space agency says it will award a total of $2.6 billion to private businesses for the moon effort over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, a startup called Orbit Beyond is in the running for NASA's moon payloads, and it's working with TeamIndus, the Indian spaceflight company that nearly won the Lunar X Prize competition.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for the science directorate, said there were already many experiments that scientists know they want to send to the moon.

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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NASA plans to have astronauts orbiting the moon again by 2023, with a landing a few years later.

Nine selected companies are now eligible to bid on contracts that will deliver services to the moon.

Near the other end of the corporate spectrum is Orbit Beyond, a small company with plans to develop a series of lunar landers.

"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Rogozin informed that the firm was struggling with financial burdens, but there was a clear five-year plan that would lead to a new age of space technology, reported The Sun. The new space station would orbit the moon. The company was part of the Apollo moon missions that began in the '60s.

Lockheed Martin was responsible for the InSight lander, which landed on Mars earlier this week.

The agency hopes that this new program will help bring the US back to the surface of the moon. Sending American astronauts into space aboard SpaceX hardware is another, and it appears NASA is going to be a lot more strict about how SpaceX and its CEO behave now that the company is in the midst of building vehicles to carry crew.