NASA expects the selected contractors to begin flying to the moon as early as next year. The company has previously worked with NASA to develop Moon commercial cargo transporation capabilities and was the first private company authorized by the U.S. government to land on the Moon. As part of the contract - which is worth a $6.8 billion - the companies need to "maintain a program for achieving a drug-and alcohol-free workforce".
Prior to the announcement, Bridenstine spoke on The Hill TV's "Rising" program, emphasizing the goal of the Space Policy Directive's mission to build the capabilities of not only returning to the Moon, but stay as a sustained presence.
Draper will lead a team, including three other companies, to design, manufacture and launch a lunar lander - dubbed "Artemis-7" - to the moon.
Earlier this year, NASA shocked scientists by canceling the Resource Prospector mission, the only American lunar rover now in development. NASA said that additional companies could be included at a later date.
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Buoyed by advanced science and new revelations, Roscosmos has pushed a Moon base to the top of its priorities.
The NASA administrators fielded questions from reporters, Twitter users, and young STEM students-the ingenuousness of children's questions contrasting the press's pointed attempts to glean more details about the contract contents, vague selection criteria, and types of experiments. "That legacy continues as we return to the moon and beyond with CLPS". SpaceX has been a hugely valuable partner for NASA, but launching unmanned cargo ships into space is one thing. "Each are entrepreneurial pioneers of commercial space bringing key capabilities to the table, and we look forward to working with them in offering robotic expeditions to the Moon for science, commerce and exploration". This is not going to be 'Lucy and the football' again. "The innovation of America's aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve awesome things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars".
NASA's Exploration Campaign includes USA leadership in low-Earth orbit, in orbit around the Moon and on its surface, and at destinations far beyond, including Mars.
"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", Mr Bridenstine said. "We want to assure payload customers who select Lockheed Martin can be confident that we'll deliver on-time and on-budget". An open architecture builds sustainability. Think of it as venture capital. Our portfolio is larger, so we can take more risks and get it done fast. Although not tied to the aerospace giant's human-rated spacecraft, the company noted its experience with developing vehicles similar to this new lander. "And from there we build".