January 27, 2021

NASA has chosen four companies to oversee the procurement of lunar samples

2 min read

NASA has selected four companies to procure samples from the moon, which is one of the agency’s strategies to be a leader in the ownership of space resources and utilities. The agency revealed that they selected ispace Japan, ispace Europe, Masten Space System, and Lunar Outpost to retrieve the samples gathered from the moon. The agency explained that the companies would send spacecraft to the moon to collect the samples and send photographic evidence about the missions. The agency reiterated that it would then claim the ownership of the samples. 

NASA explained that the mission is testing the potential of the utilities to send spacecraft to the moon and utilize the lunar resources rather than the collection of the samples. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated that they are evaluating the capacity to extract resources by following the Outer Space Treaty. The agency’s executives responded that the awards are just an attraction tool to bring on board the utilities with advanced technology to extradite these missions. Mike Gold, the interim associate administrator for international and interagency relations at NASA, confirmed that they are evaluating the compliance of the missions they are conducting with the Outer Space Treaty. NASA announced the reception of 22 proposals, according to the director of commercial spaceflights at the agency’s headquarters, Phil McAlister. The agency scrutinized the proposals to identify those that met the specifications and were plausible before taking the ones with all these qualities and at affordable budgets. 

McAlister noted that 14 failed the test, with some containing technical irregularities and others exceeding the allocated budget limit. The agency rigorously analyzed the proposals with considerable budgets within the allotted range forcing the agency to work with the proposal from Lunar Outpost of Colorado, which confirmed that it would sell lunar materials to NASA for $1. The CEO of Lunar Outpost maintained that they selected this price to indicate its dedication to space exploration and create room for legal and procedural alignment. 

In conclusion, Lunar Outpost manufactures the MAPP rover, which will explore the moon in one of its landers. Cyrus explained that they are holding talks with Intuitive Machines Masten and Lockheed Martin over the utilization of the moon landers of these companies to deploy their resources on the moon. The executive added that the rideshare payloads from other customers would fund the expenses of the mission. Masten Space Systems agreed to this deal, explaining that the mission would allow it to learn from the advanced space agencies. 

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