NASA has delayed the release of a task order that’s part of its commercial lunar lander program for the delivery of a rover at the south pole of the moon, a decision some lander companies have quietly welcomed.
As NASA adds new companies to a commercial lunar landing services program, some existing participants worry its value to them may now be diminished.
NASA announced Nov. 18 that it was adding five companies to a contract to perform commercial deliveries of payloads to the surface of the moon, a group that ranges from small ventures to Blue Origin and SpaceX.
Japanese lunar lander company ispace says it’s on track to launch its first mission in 2021 while supporting an American partner on potential NASA missions.
Intuitive Machines, a company with a NASA contract to fly payloads to the moon in 2021, announced Oct. 2 it has signed a contract with SpaceX for the launch of its lunar lander.
The apparent failure of an Indian spacecraft to land on the moon this month is providing a reminder to NASA and its commercial partners of the challenges of not only the missions themselves but sharing data on problems they experience.
Days after Astrobotic announced its selection of United Launch Alliance to launch its first lunar lander, Japanese lunar lander company ispace says it is modifying its schedule for commercial lunar lander missions.
One of the three companies NASA selected less than two months ago to carry payloads to the moon has informed the agency it won’t be able to perform that mission and has terminated its nearly $100 million contract.
SpaceIL’s recent decision not to mount a second lunar lander mission is only the latest sign of delays and retrenchment among international ventures planning missions to the moon.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency’s approach to moving up a human lunar landing from 2028 to 2024 will focus first on speed and then on sustainability.
The one company that failed to win a NASA contract last month for commercial lunar payload delivery services says it will try again in the future as it continues development of its lunar lander.
A NASA spacecraft originally built as part of the previous effort to return humans to the moon is now playing a key role in the new effort at human lunar return, including aiding commercial landers.