NASA recently disclosed the list of companies it selected to begin studies and primary prototype development of parts of Lunar Landers. Reportedly, there are about 11 companies the space agency has selected for this task hoping that this will help it meet 2024 human landing target.
These awards are said to be a part of the space agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) chain of broad agency pronouncements. Reportedly, this initiative by the space agency will support public–private associations to form technologies required for NASA’s exploration strategies. Companies getting these awards are needed to make their individual contributions additional to NASA’s dual funding of about $45.5 Million. The 11 companies are selected to symbolize a broad cross-section of the commercial space sector, from well-known aerospace firms to budding startups. The list of companies includes SpaceX, Blue Origin, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Maxar Technologies (formerly SSL), Masten Space Systems, OrbitBeyond, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
On a similar note, the National Space Society (NSS) came into the news as its International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is planned to take place in the upcoming month. Reports highlight that this meeting is intended to address a huge policy move for NASA: sending humans to the moon, and as early as possible.
The NSS, many months ago, with no idea regarding that policy move, selected the moon as one of the key themes for the conference. This conference is scheduled to take place from June 6, 2019, to June 9, 2019. In an interview, NSS officials proclaimed, the latest decision acknowledged that July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the foremost human landing on the moon. At present, however, NASA is found shooting for a crewed Lunar return, on an earlier accelerated timeline, making the latest NSS conference even more relevant.