NASA Names Winner of a $93 Million Lunar Lander Contract
NASA spent $ 93.3. Millions to Firefly Aerospace to deliver a series of 10 scientific studies and technology demonstrations to the Moon in 2023.
The Cedar Park, Texas-based company will use its Blue Ghost lunar lander (below) to deliver the 94 kg total payloads to the Moon’s Mare Crisium Basin. A launch vehicle for the mission has not yet been determined.
An illustration of Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost Lander on the lunar surface. Firefly Aerospace
Firefly’s lunar journey aims to study a range of lunar surface conditions and resources in preparation for the next human landing, which is not expected to take place until 2024 at the earliest.
“The payloads we send as part of this delivery service span a variety of areas, from studying the lunar soil and testing sample acquisition technology to information about the moon’s thermal properties and magnetic field,” NASA’s Chris said in one Press release on Thursday, February 4th. You can find specific details on each payload on the NASA website.
The award is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative – a key element of the Artemis space program – in which the agency hires commercial partners for future lunar missions. This is the sixth award for lunar surface delivery under the CLPS initiative, NASA said.
Firefly said it was “an honor to be selected by NASA,” adding that its 330-strong team of aerospace professionals are continuing development work on its Alpha rocket and SUV spacecraft to become one of the leaders To become and ultimately compete with space transportation providers in America like SpaceX.
Space fans hope Firefly can hit the 2023 target for its ambitious mission, as such schedules are all too often troubled. For example, NASA’s plan to put the first woman and next man on the moon is likely to miss the 2024 target date as a number of issues such as funding issues, rising costs and unexpected delays in schedule take their toll.
Do you fancy a short trip to the moon? Then check out this stunning closest neighbor flyover, created with footage and photos captured from a lunar orbiter.