In November last year, the space Agency NASA has selected 9 private aerospace companies that will compete for the right to development and delivery of robotic spacecraft, scientific equipment and other instruments to the moon in the new program Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), aimed not only to return but also fasten US to the Earth’s satellite. On Thursday, the Agency made the announcement, referring to the aerospace industry and the US for help in creating the devices, which in 2028 will deliver astronauts to the lunar surface.
Before the man again set foot on the lunar surface in 2024, NASA plans to send a satellite unmanned spacecraft. The Agency has announced a competition among private companies for the creation of the probe with the deadline for submission of applications is 25 March 2019.
“If everything depended on our will, we would like to go there this calendar year. However, we are focused on quick execution of tasks,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s science, done in Washington, “sectoral meetings” with representatives of the American space industry.
The adviser added that during the first phase of the program the Agency will give the various companies the “number of contracts” worth of 300 thousand to nine million dollars and will be ready to take certain risks in order to speed up the development programmes aimed at commercial cooperation in matters related to flying to the moon.
“We do not expect that every launch and every landing on the moon will be successful. We risk, but this risk is justified,” he added, Zurbuchen.
Nine companies, which the Agency seized in November last year to help implement the program Commercial Lunar Payload Services are: Astrobotic, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express Orbit and Beyond. They are all on a competitive basis will be able to actively participate in the development and maintenance of a variety of Agency projects related to the creation and development of lunar infrastructure, addressing scientific and other issues. For example, in the framework of one task will be developing and sending to the moon scientific equipment that will be used to address issues related to various scientific mysteries of the satellite. In other will be the development and delivery of equipment for exploration and extraction of natural resources of the moon, as well as various visual technologies that will ultimately help to establish the satellite human settlement.
Of course, the most important lunar resource of interest to NASA, at least at this stage is water, the main reserves of which are in the form of deposits of ice in permanently dark regions of polar craters of the satellite. In addition, significant reserves of water are contained and pyroclastic rock across the moon. Access this resource will not only create the satellite human settlement, by providing for the needs of future colonists, but also to use it for the production of hydrogen and oxygen – the basic components of rocket fuel.
How notes portal Space.com the CLPS program is part of a wider plan of NASA’s exploration of the moon, in which priority is given to open architecture, aimed in the direction of cooperation with many commercial and international partners.
Commercial machines – not only that he would like to see NASA on the moon. One of the most important tasks of the new program is the establishment of a small lunar space station Gateway, the construction of which the Agency plans to begin in 2022. The station aims to become a kind of hub, with which in the future will be a variety of space missions. It will be used for manned and unmanned scientific expeditions, including using unmanned and manned lunar landing modules, or as a “transit point” to send missions into deeper space.
The last person was on the moon was Eugene Cernan, who visited it in December 1972 in the framework of the mission “Apollo 17”. NASA wants back on Earth in the year 2028, after 56 years. However, the Agency is not going to simply repeat the success of the mission “Apollo”, installing on the moon American flag and returning back to Earth.
“We plan to return to the moon in the shortest possible time, using private companies, and our initiative fully supports the President Donald trump. I hope that we will be there already in 2028. But this time, forever. We are not going to leave on the moon, flags & footprints, and then go home and wait 50 years,” comments James Breidenstein, who heads NASA.
According to Bridenstine, the moon exploration will be a very important step towards the development and implementation of the possibilities of manned flight to Mars. At the same time, is not the only reason why the US is so keen on the moon. Back breath of China and Russia, who also declared his desire to gain a foothold on Earth. Russia is considering the possibility of the first manned flight to the moon and start construction of a lunar base in 2031 and 2034-m, respectively. China is going to send a man on Earth about a year earlier.