Maston Space Systems: A Mojave-based company focused on reusable rocket technology and reliable planetary landers for the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond. SpaceX has been a hugely valuable partner for NASA, but launching unmanned cargo ships into space is one thing.
Breitbart News previously reported that after footage of Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whiskey during a live podcast went viral, NASA announced that both SpaceX and Boeing - which have been hired by NASA to transport astronauts to the International Space Station - will undergo a months-long safety assessment that will involve hundreds of interviews to determine the culture of each company's workplace.
In 2019, NASA and people across the United States will mark the 50 anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.
The space agency will buy the service and let the private industry work out the details on getting there, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. That will depend on the success of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.
A layout of NASA's Moon to Mars mission.
Aside from Lockheed Martin, most of the aerospace firms are not too well known.
"We are excited to partner with these fantastic companies at the dawn of a new era of lunar and solar system exploration", stated Moon Express founder & CEO, Bob Richards.
Prior to the announcement, Bridenstine spoke on The Hill TV's "Rising" program, emphasizing the goal of the Space Policy Directive's mission to build the capabilities of not only returning to the Moon, but stay as a sustained presence. Some of its current technology developments include a universal reentry vehicle and a lunar lander. "We want to do it far more with commercial and global partners than we can do on our own". You might recognize these companies from the Lunar X Prize.
The McCandless Lunar Lander is named after the late astronaut and former Lockheed Martin employee Bruce McCandless, who in 1984 performed the first free-flying spacewalk without a lifeline to the orbiting shuttle, using a jetpack built by the company. Draper is another long-time space contractor in the CLPS program.
"I will tell you that was not helpful", Bridenstine told assembled reporters at a press gathering at NASA HQ.
The first could fly as early as next year, and NASA hopes to send two payloads every year for the next 10 years.
Zurbuchen said Thursday that a mobile lunar laboratory remains one of NASA's goals for Moon exploration, though such a mission would likely be developed through a more traditional process.
"We are looking forward to higher-definition pictures to confirm this preliminary assessment", said Bruce Banerdt, principal investigator of InSight at NASA. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.