"The implementation of the lunar program will be held in several stages until 2040", wrote the Russian federal space agency (Translated from Russian).
NASA announced Friday nine USA space companies chosen to bid on delivery services to the moon, including Draper Laboratory, Inc., whose team includes Japanese lunar exploration startup ispace Inc. The photo of McCandless floating by himself in the blackness of space, with the blue Earth in the background, is one of NASA's most iconic. "It is about a colony on the surface of the moon". Anderson predicted that NASA would spread the money among three or four bidders, to encourage the development of a competitive private space industry in the United States.
Masten Space Systems is developing a lunar lander called XL-1 that will be able to place up to 100 kilograms on the lunar surface starting in 2021. Some of these have already made successful voyages to the Moon and Mars.
Aside from Lockheed Martin, most of the aerospace firms are not too well known.
"We're doing something that's never been done before", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints - we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond". Langley is working with American companies to help them understand and implement technologies supporting entry, descent and landing, in-space assembly, and habitats and radiation protection.
Lockheed Martin's lander concept has been dubbed the McCandless Lunar Lander. And India and China both have announced plans to send robotic explorers to the moon's surface in 2019.
"There isn't a direct connection to Orion, but this offering does pull from our planetary heritage overall".
Of the group, the only well-known name is aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, which has a long track record of success with NASA and built the InSight lander that touched down Monday on Mars.
Successful Landing of NASA’s InSight on Mars Start of Two-Year Exploration
NASA will use radio telescopes in Green Bank, West Virginia and also in Germany to listen out for radio signals from InSight. The MarCOs have also supported scientific exploration at Mars, even though they do not carry any scientific equipment.
"The goal of the lunar programs is to ensure national interests at the new space turn".
NASA is in the process of identifying payloads that could fly on those payloads. Draper is another long-time space contractor in the CLPS program.
The last US mission to the moon was Apollo 17 in 1972. "There is a lot of awesome science we can do on the surface of the moon that we can't do anywhere else". NASA needs to work closely with private enterprise to make the moon missions financially possible.
NASA intends to award multiple contracts for these services through the next decade, with contract missions to the lunar surface expected to begin as early as 2019, and with a company's first delivery no later than December 31, 2021.
"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
'The innovation of America's aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve unbelievable things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars'.