Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic Technology Among Companies Eligible To Bid On Moon Mission Contracts

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The decision marks a stark change in NASA's mode of operation when it comes to America's Moon aspirations - though private companies have been used for years to ferry gear to the International Space Station, and SpaceX and Boeing are working on spacecraft to carry astronauts to the Moon as early as 2019.

For those of you who are still trying to decipher how one of Musk's companies motivated him to stay away from weed and whiskey (at least in the public space) here is a simple explanation that would straighten out the things for you.

Essentially, NASA's new Moon strategy will involve using private companies to build the stuff they send their experiments to the Moon on.

After safely landing on Mars following its almost seven month journey, Nasa has released the first pictures taken by its InSight spacecraft, which has opened it solar arrays to charge batteries.

Many Moon researchers were disappointed by the cancellation of the Resource Prospector mission - "I still am", Neal said.

NASA plans to create a commercial marketplace called the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program (CLIPS) to develop technology that will eventually establish a continuous Moon presence.

In Paris, the French space agency CERN said everything seems fine for the moment, and that it is up to Nasa to communicate with the SEIS quake-sensing instrument. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, have been making space station shipments since 2012.

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In December, Trump signed a policy directive instructing NASA to "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery".

NASA announced Thursday that Draper and eight other companies have been selected to bid for up to $2.6 billion in contracts for future moon missions.

SpaceX and Boeing are developing spaceships with NASA that will carry US astronauts into space for the first time since the last space shuttle flight in 2011.

NASA said that additional companies could be included at a later date.

Masten's XL-1 lander has two payload bays with the capacity of delivering an estimated 220 lbs (100 kilograms) of mass to the lunar surface. During Council meetings, USA government officials from civilian and military space along with space industry leaders such as SpaceX and Boeing, as well as other significant public and private institutions, hold discussions with high ranking members of the United States government, the Vice President being the Chairman.

The program is part of the agency's effort to work with commercial aerospace firms.

NASA would buy space on commercial robotic landers to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, missions that could start as early as next year, Xinhua news agency reported.

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