World News

NASA Announces Private Companies Will Complete Next Moon Landing

By  | 


2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of man’s first landing on the moon. We’ve come a long way since then. So much so that now, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that America’s next moon landing is expected to be completed by private companies. The news is coming just three days after they’ve successfully landed on Mars.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, made the announcement on Thursday, November 29, identifying that, at present, nine American companies will soon be vying for the opportunity to deliver experiments to the moon. Bridenstine explained that in the process of having private industry bid and complete the necessary details, NASA will be purchasing the service as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS.) This means that NASA could effectively be living up to the “Administration” component of its name as opposed to fulfilling the entire implementation. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NASA presently manages its field centers, coordinates management policies, and manages all policies of the International Space Station (ISS) program. Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas, directs the ISS. There have been no further details as to how the CLPS will affect or alter these components of NASA’s duties.

NASA Announces Private Companies Will Complete Next Moon Landing

Photo: Flickr/Guian Bolisay

$2.6 billion worth of contracts are on the line, with the goal of getting technologies to the moon for exploration, and the first flight could be as early as next year. Over 30 companies expressed interest in the project, however, NASA has narrowed the bidders down to Lockheed Martin, Masten Space Systems, Astrobotic, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Moon Express, Intuitive Machines, Orbit Beyond, and Deep Space Systems.

NASA Announces Private Companies Will Complete Next Moon Landing

Photo: Johnson Space Center

“We’re doing something that’s never been done before,” Bridenstine said to “When we go to the moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the Earth and the moon.” The CLPS expands on Space Policy Directive 1, which was signed in December of 2017 by President Trump. It called for NASA to go back to the moon, with the stipulation that the agency also sends Americans there in preparation for future trips to Mars.