Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Russian Federation unveils plans to build human colony on moon

Russian Federation unveils plans to build human colony on moon

"They will compete for tasks that we'll put out in the weeks and months from now", explained Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, during the press conference.

The relatively small and low-priced payloads delivered via the CLPS program would be followed by more traditional medium- and large-class missions, Bridenstine said, including an eventual crewed mission to the Moon.

Today NASA revealed the nine companies it has selected to compete to take NASA payloads to the surface of the Moon.

Of the group, the only well-known name is aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, which has a long track record of success with NASA and built the InSight lander that touched down Monday on Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the nine companies that will be the first to participate in the agency's new Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

"The relatively small and cheap payloads delivered via the CLPS program would be followed by more traditional medium- and large-class missions", said NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. Also, Russia plans to send a telescope to the dark side of the Moon to gather more data on that part of our natural satellite. Moon Express, for example, is partnered with Sierra Nevada Corporation, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Odyssey Space Research, and Nanoracks.

The space agency said in a statement the goal is to bring many science and technology experiments to the moon as soon as possible.

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NASA had "never done anything that fast" before, Zurbuchen said. Working with USA companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

However, according to NASA's plans, by 2040, the U.S. space agency would already have put humans on Mars, so Russian Federation is falling behind, to some extent.

The companies, some which will develop small launch vehicles and robotic rovers over the next 10 years, will vie for a chunk of the $2.6 billion under the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. The first flight could be next year.

NASA plans to create a sustainable moon mission that will lead to a human mission to Mars, and these Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts are a big part of it. Under Space Policy Directive-1, the agency will lead an innovative and sustainable exploration of the Moon together with commercial and global partners.

"The reality is, we're getting ready to launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil for the first time since 2011, and we want to make sure we have a cultural assessment, a safety assessment of each of our providers", he said.

NASA will also re-evaluate the private sector landscape periodically for emerging players that may be able to offer lunar delivery capabilities, and which may offer CLPS contacts to more companies through on-ramping process.

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