NASA Issues Call for Lunar Surface Instruments, Technology Payloads

Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has announced a call for Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads that will fly to the Moon on commercial lunar landers as early as next year or 2020. The agency is working with U.S. industry and international partners to expand human exploration from the Moon to Mars. It all starts with robotic missions on the lunar surface, as well as a Gateway for astronauts in space orbiting the Moon.
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Draper Laboratory Unveils Team for NASA’s Next Moonshot

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper, a company with a heritage in space exploration dating to the Apollo moon landings, announced today its team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under the proposal, the team will support NASA in the delivery of small rovers and instruments to meet lunar science and exploration needs, advance development of lunar landers for human missions and conduct more research on the moon’s surface ahead of a human return.

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List of Interested Vendors in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Below is a list of vendors who expressed interest in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The space agency is looking to buy rides to the moon for payloads.

The list includes vendors ranging from the biggest aerospace companies in the country to former Google Lunar X Prize competitors to smaller companies that few people have heard about.

NASA’s deadline for making CLPS awards is Dec. 31, 2018.

NASA Lunar CATALYST Companies

Large Space Companies

Smaller Space Companies

Former Google Lunar X Prize Teams

And the Rest….

A Closer Look at NASA’s Lunar Exploration Strategy

Astronaut John Young salutes the flag on the moon during the Apollo 16 mission. (Credit: NASA)

NASA put out a press release this week explaining its approach toward lunar exploration that mentioned a Lunar Surface Transportation Capability Request for Information (RFI) the agency published in March which closed out on April 30.

Although we published a post about it at the time the RFI was released, we thought it would be a good time to take a closer look to see exactly what information NASA sought and what its strategy is going forward.

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NASA Lays Out Plans for Lunar Exploration, Explains Resource Prospector Cancellation

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners as part of an overall agency Exploration Campaign in support of Space Policy Directive 1. It all starts with robotic missions on the lunar surface, as well as a Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway for astronauts in space beyond the Moon. Right now, NASA is preparing to purchase new small lunar payload delivery services, develop lunar landers, and conduct more research on the Moon’s surface ahead of a human return. And that long-term exploration and development of the Moon will give us the experience for the next giant leap – human missions to Mars and destinations beyond.

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NASA Cancels Lunar Resource Prospector, Promises Aggressive Commercial Strategy

The Resource Prospector prototype searches for a buried sample tube at the Johnson Space Center rock yard in August 2015. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In a move that left the lunar science community stunned, NASA has canceled the Resource Prospector mission, which would have sent a rover to the moon to drill holes in search of ice and other volatiles that could be used to support human settlers and miners and turned into fuel to power spacecraft.

In place of the mission, which was set to launch in 2022, the space agency issued a draft request for proposal (RFP) on Friday for the new Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Under CLPS, NASA would pay companies to carry instruments and experiments to the lunar surface aboard privately-built landers and rovers.

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