The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Thursday announced nine US companies including Lockheed Martin Corp. that are going to compete for funding NASA’s long-term moon program. This space program is a private-public undertaking to develop a technology which will explore the lunar eclipse.
At a news briefing, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said, "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’’.
In the past, NASA revealed, "Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019’’.
These nine companies will compete for a chunk of a $2.6 billion under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. These companies will be developing small launch vehicles and robotic rovers over the next 10 years.
NASA is expecting to begin construction of a new space station laboratory which will be orbiting out planet’s natural satellite and will also act as a pit stop for missions to deeper parts of our solar system.
Apart from Lockheed Martin, NASA has also chosen Draper, which will develop computers for the Apollo missions. And, for developing equipments for the program, NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology Inc, Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express and four others.
Also Read | Moon rocks sold for $855,000 in US auction
Recently, NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft, that is currently orbiting the Red Planet, relayed the signals. InSight spacecraft, the first robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the Red Planet, touched down safely on the surface of Mars on Monday.