There are footprints on the moon. And there are soon to be some more, according to the United States Government. The United States is once again planning on landing astronauts on the surface of Planet Earth’s only natural satellite by 2024, in preparation for a shot to Mars.
But this time, those footprints may be delivered by commercial businesses in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rather than the government alone. As a first step, NASA has partnered with three private aerospace companies to deliver payloads to the moon and conduct science experiments.
2019 is a big year for space exploration and the commercial space industry. SpaceX has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) and sent multiple payloads to space. According to the International Business Times the ISS will be open to commercial space travel by next year offering (very wealthy) citizens the opportunity to experience space. And Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic claim they could launch commercial space flight within a year.
More terrestrially and concretely, In May of this year, NASA selected three companies to deliver NASA supplied payloads to the moon.
“Each commercial lander will [also] l conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024,” read a press release supplied by NASA. “As the first major step to return astronauts to the Moon under Space Policy Directive-1, NASA is working with nine American companies on delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts.”
The three companies recently selected to provide specific payload and scientific services to the moon are:
“Our selection of these U.S. commercial landing service providers represents America’s return to the moon’s surface for the first time in decades, and it’s a huge step forward for our Artemis lunar exploration plans,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, in a press release provided by NASA. “Next year, our initial science and technology research will be on the lunar surface, which will help support sending the first woman and the next man to the moon in five years. Investing in these commercial landing services also is another strong step to build a commercial space economy beyond low-Earth orbit.”
This is an exciting time for the aerospace industry, the aerospace economy, and aerospace manufacturing. Schwab Industries is at the vanguard of the aerospace manufacturing industry, bridging the gap between high and low volume production. We specialize in prototyping, low volume stamping and assembly, aerospace tooling, and automotive production fixtures.
Needless to say, at Schwab, we’re very excited about another moon shot, and humanity’s eventual journey to Mars.
“This announcement starts a significant step in NASA’s collaboration with our commercial partners,” said Chris Culbert, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “NASA is committed to working with industry to enable the next round of lunar exploration. The companies we have selected represent a diverse community of exciting small American companies, each with their own unique, innovative approach to getting to the Moon. We look forward to working with them to have our payloads delivered and opening the door for returning humans to the Moon.”
This is simply a fancy way of saying, “Back to the Moon, and soon, on the wings of US small business ingenuity!”
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