Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance said Oct. 17 that they are cooperating on the development of a habitat orbiting the moon that they hope to build in a public-private partnership with NASA.
NASA is in discussions about potential roles it could play on an upcoming series of Russian robotic lunar missions, including landers and sample return spacecraft.
Commercial lunar lander company Moon Express announced an agreement with NanoRacks Oct. 10 to carry commercial payloads to the surface of the moon.
A leading official of China’s space program confirmed Sept. 25 that the July failure of the country’s largest launch vehicle will lead to delays to upcoming lunar missions, including one to return samples.
NASA is preparing to release a solicitation for the commercial transportation of payloads to the lunar surface, the latest step in the agency’s efforts to help promote the development of commercial lunar landers.
Earth’s nearest neighbor has a lot of resources, including platinum group metals, an isotope called helium 3 that could be used to fuel future fusion power plants, and water that could sustain lunar colonists and be refined into rocket fuel. What is the best approach to encourage a lunar mining industry?
Moon Express, a company developing commercial lunar landers, said July 12 its first mission is still on schedule to launch by the end of this year in a bid to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
Chinese engineers are wrapping up work on the Chang’e-5 lunar mission for a targeted November launch atop a Long March 5 booster. It will depart from the newly completed Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province. If successful, this robotic mooncraft would carry the first lunar samples returned to Earth in over 40 years.
The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft would include an orbiter and a lander, with that lander carrying a rover.
Six months after seeking information about instruments it could fly to the moon, NASA has issued a request for information for commercial systems that could transport payloads there.
In recent weeks NASA had laid out more details about what an outpost orbiting the moon might look like and how it could be built - driven by the need to start planning payloads for the initial missions to develop it.
The White House declined to comment on any interest the administration has in mining the moon.
If NASA’s human spaceflight program is redirected back to the Moon, Blue Origin is ready to support it with its proposed “Blue Moon” lunar lander system, company president Robert Meyerson said April 5.
With NASA’s long-term strategy for human missions to Mars in flux, heads of several space agencies said they supported initial missions to the moon as a key step before going to Mars.