NASA Awards Draper $73 Million to Deliver Suite of Payloads to the Moon in 2025

An illustration of Draper’s SERIES-2 lunar lander, which will deliver science and technology payloads to the Moon for NASA in 2025. (Image Credit: Draper)

CAMBRIDGE, MA (Draper PR) — Draper, a company with a heritage in space exploration from the earliest stages of Apollo to the most recent Artemis awards, announced that NASA has awarded Draper $73 million to deliver a suite of three NASA-sponsored science payloads to the Schrödinger basin on the lunar surface. Schrödinger basin is on the far side of the Moon—a first for NASA.

Draper, as prime contractor, will lead a team that brings extensive and highly relevant experience in space, with partners that include General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, ispace technologies U.S. Team and Systima Technologies, a division of Karman Space & Defense. Team Draper will deliver the payloads in 2025 in fulfillment of Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) task order CP-12, managed by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. 

“Draper and its teammates are honored to be selected by NASA to deliver these important payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for human and robotic exploration missions to follow. With our heritage in space exploration, originating with the Apollo Program, and our deep roots and broad technology presence in the space sector, Draper is poised to ensure U.S. preeminence in the commercialization of cislunar space,” said Draper’s principal director of civil and commercial space systems, Pete Paceley. 

Each Draper Team partner brings industry-leading solutions:

  • Draper, as prime contractor, will provide the descent guidance, navigation and control system for the lunar lander, and overall program management, systems engineering, integration and test, and mission and quality assurance.
  • General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems will perform payload integration and test.
  • ispace technologies U.S. (ispace US) will serve as the design agent, leveraging use of their made-in-the-USA SERIES-2 lander.
  • Systima Technologies, a division of Karman Space & Defense, will lead lander manufacturing and assembly, integration and test. 

Schrödinger basin is a large impact crater near the lunar South Pole. The basin is one of a few locations on the Moon that shows evidence of geologically recent volcanic activity, including lava flows and eruptions from vents. The CP-12 flight will deliver three payloads of scientific equipment to measure the Moon’s seismic and thermomechanical activity, and capture details about the magnetic field, electrical activity, heat flow and surface weathering. 

As a result of the far side landing, the lander and payloads will require a communications relay capability to communicate with Mission Control Center on Earth. To fulfill this need, Team Draper will deploy two relay satellites, built by Blue Canyon Technologies, in the cislunar orbit before the lunar landing. Advanced Space will support the team in the mission planning and operations of the satellites.

CP-12 will make possible the kind of geophysical observations from the surface of the Moon that have consistently remained a high priority among the lunar community.

About Draper

At Draper, we believe exciting things happen when new capabilities are imagined and created. Whether formulating a concept and developing each component to achieve a field-ready prototype or combining existing technologies in new ways, Draper engineers apply multidisciplinary approaches that deliver new capabilities to customers. As a nonprofit engineering innovation company, Draper focuses on the design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions for the world’s most challenging and important problems. We provide engineering solutions directly to government, industry and academia; work on teams as prime contractor or subcontractor; and participate as a collaborator in consortia. We provide unbiased assessments of technology or systems designed or recommended by other organizations—custom designed, as well as commercial-off-the-shelf. 

About General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Group is a global leader in the research, design and manufacture of first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS’ history of research, development, and technology innovation has led to an expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions supporting aviation, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and processing and monitoring applications for critical defense, industrial and commercial customers worldwide.

About ispace technologies, U.S. 

Located in Denver, Colorado, ispace U.S. is a subsidiary of ispace. The office, which opened in late 2020, has more than 40 employees and is rapidly growing. It serves as the central location for development of ispace’s Series 2 lander, as well as the central location for operations in North America. ispace’s plans to invest and develop robust operations in the U.S. is driven by its objective to partner with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to further its lunar exploration objectives, such as through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, and other business opportunities. Currently, ispace, through ispace U.S., is involved in a strategic partnership with the Massachusetts-based engineering innovation company, Draper, as part of “Team Draper” to compete in the CLPS program; through this collaboration, ispace would assume the role as a subcontractor and design agent to Draper. 

About Systima, a Division of Karman Space & Defense 

Karman Space & Defense is an integrated concept-to-production solutions provider for the space and defense industry’s most complex and mission-critical projects. Through its four divisions (Systima, AAE, AEC and AMRO) the company provides solutions for integrated dynamic systems, assemblies, and advanced manufacturing that are used in our industry’s most critical programs, including crewed-space flight and hypersonic missions. The Systima division located in Mukilteo, WA (WA-2) is a leading manufacturer of separation and deployment systems, integrated launch and retention/release systems, electromechanical systems and electrical initiation systems as well as aerostructures and advanced composite assemblies including deployable shrouds and fuel tanks.