NASA announced Thursday that it has partnered with nine companies to enable the delivery of small scientific payloads to the lunar surface. No money was exchanged up front, but the space agency said these companies would now be eligible to "bid" for contracts to deliver select experiments to the Moon.
NASA is following up on its plan to purchase rides on commercial lunar landers by soliciting ideas for the scientific and technological payloads to put on them.
China’s lunar probes may one day threaten critical U.S. satellites, said one of the military’s top experts on space threats. “We’ve seen [reports] in open press…that say the Chinese have a relay satellite flying around…the flipside of the moon. That’s very telling to us,” Jeff Gossel, the senior intelligence engineer in the Space and Missile Analysis Group at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said at an Air Force Association event on Friday.
An American rivalry with China could stoke a new space race in the years ahead, prominent members of the space community said at a session marking the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo missions. But it may not play out the way the U.S.-Soviet space race did, said Scott Pace, executive secretary for the White House’s National Space Council. Billionaire-backed space efforts such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin could play a leading role, he said.
When NASA announced the Lunar Orbiting Platform Gateway (LOP-G) critics were quick to point out the biggest shortcoming of the facility - there was no way to land on the Moon. Now Lockheed Martin may have the answer to that criticism with the release of their concept for a reusable lunar lander.