Astrobotic Technology is a Pittsburgh-based company.
The vehicle had been in development for about a decade to explore a polar region of the Moon. The first such flight could come as early as next year.
What? Is NASA going to the moon? The company is partnered with NASA under the Lunar CATALYST program and serves a global base of customers from its 72-acre Space Campus headquarters at Cape Canaveral with additional facilities at the NASA Kennedy Space Center. Blue Origin hasn't been as specific, but Bezos has said the company is working on a large rocket called New Armstrong, named for the first man to set foot on the moon. Missions could feasibly begin as early as 2019.
NASA Watch's Keith Cowing noted the announcement echoed a similar one 15 years ago in the same room to return to the moon, without much progress since. NASA had "never done anything that fast" before, Zurbuchen said.
The goal is to get small science and technology experiments to the surface of the moon as soon as possible. "That foil collected material from the sun and provided the best measurements of the sun we had for the next 25 years".
"We're going to buy the service and that enables us to be one customer of many customers spreading the cost". Now, within hours after NASA announced their plans to take humans to the moon, Russian Federation has revealed that they intend to build a lunar base by 2040.
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.
Now Bridenstine has commented publicly on the incident for the first time.
Back in August, NASA selected the companies that will be in charge with creating tipping point technologies for sending new spacecraft to the Moon and safely landing them there. And the agency has some experience with it. That drew the ire of NASA, which launched a safety review of SpaceX and Boeing - the other company partnering with NASA to launch the next-generation manned spacecraft - to ensure that both are following proper safety protocol and setting examples at the top.
Throughout the past moon missions, astronauts spent only 16 days at six sites on the surface.
NASA sees this as a step toward long-term study and human exploration of the moon - and eventually Mars. Some of the elements are now under construction on Earth.
While some of the companies are relatively new, others, like Draper, have been involved with the USA space program for decades. Deep Space Systems, which has worked on Orion, Juno, and other NASA missions is also in the mix. "You heard about our capability that we have of developing multi-functional materials and structures that will not only provide for an environment that will protect our astronauts from damage, but also provide the capability to protect them from radiation", Acting Deputy Director for Structures and Materials Jonathan Ranson said.