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NASA funds private corporate missions

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In the coming years, the Moon will have to face a real wave of missions. NASA financially supports private companies and dispatches their rovers.

Frankfurt – The Moon is the closest celestial body to Earth and the only extraterrestrial body that humans have entered so far. However, it has disappeared from the epicenter of space travel for many years, and there has been no space mission there for a long time – NASA itself has not conducted direct research on the lunar surface for more than 50 years.

That’s about to change: NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program is paying private companies to transport scientific instruments and rover vehicles to the moon. A total of $2.6 billion is available in the program and the first missions are expected to begin in 2022. At least two space probes are expected to land on the moon each year, NASA hopes. A total of ten missions were planned.

Missions to the Moon: NASA supports private companies

None of these planned lunar flights have begun yet, but science is already beginning to feel the effects. “It looks like the Wild West, it’s skinny and cheap and cheap,” space researcher Stuart Bell told Science. No wonder: thanks to the participation of private companies, development is faster and less mature tools can be used within a few years – while purely NASA missions can take much longer and funding always depends on US policy.

The CLPS mission, which may be the first to go to the Moon, comes from Astrobotic. The Peregrine Lander could be America’s first moon landing since the last Apollo mission in 1972 in 2022. When first used, the spacecraft must carry 90 kilograms of cargo – including several small vehicles – to the moon and then stay there . Later, more “Lanzal Al-Shaheen” will be used, which will also transfer more weight.

“Landerbergen” by Astrobotic on the Moon (artist’s impression).

© Astrobotic

Space travel: a private fleet takes off to the moon – NASA funds several lunar landers

Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C probe is also scheduled to fly to the moon in 2022. The mission is likely to bypass the Peregrine Lander and leave first, while Astrobotic awaits the first flight of its new rocket from the Vulcan Centaur, Intuitive. The machines chose the “Falcon 9” rocket from SpaceX, which has been reliably used for years.

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It is said that several scientific instruments are on board the “Nova-C” landing module, as well as a small rover and two cubic satellites. Two more expeditions from the Nova Sea countries are planned in the coming years.

Planned lunar missions for NASA’s CLPS program:

Burger Lander (astrobot) early 2022
Nova-C Lander (Intuitive Machines) early 2022
Nova-C Lander PRIME-1 (Intuitive Machines) early 2022
Xelene Lander (Masten Space Systems) early 2023
Blue Ghost Lander (Firefly aerospaziale) early 2023
Griffin Lander Viper (astrobot) early 2023
Two homework – not over yet early 2024
Two homework – not over yet early 2024

Space travel: NASA will send the first spacecraft to the moon in 2023

In 2023, another lunar lander, the larger Griffin, is scheduled to take NASA’s large rover to the moon. The Volatile Polar Reconnaissance Vehicle (VPPER) is expected to search for water above and below the surface at the Moon’s south pole. The Antarctic region at the site has not yet been studied, but water ice has been found through observations from orbit and from Earth. “The rover will show us exactly where the highest water concentrations are and how deep the water is below the surface,” said Anthony Collabrett, project scientist at VIPER, during the project presentation. To start the rover, both Astrobotic and NASA rely on a SpaceX heavy-duty rocket.

Although NASA is mentioned at the same time as the “moon landing,” the “VIPER” will be the first NASA spacecraft to reach the moon. So far, NASA has used only the “lunar spacecraft,” the lunar modules used on the last three Apollo missions. On the other hand, Russia and China are completely different: the two countries have already placed rovers on the Earth satellite and control it.

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Space Travel: Special Landing Vehicles Take NASA’s Mission to the Moon

The Astronomical and Intuitive Instruments are the first two to be launched on the Moon as part of NASA’s CLPS program. But other companies have also developed lunar landers for the program. Masten Space Systems’ “Xelene” lander will carry cargo from NASA and private companies to the Moon in 2023, and Firefly Aerospace’s “Blue Ghost” lander will carry NASA payloads on board en route to the Moon and will have its own planes. Local information for more special shipments.

Lunar Lander, a lunar lander, used on NASA’s latest Apollo 17 lunar mission. (archive photo)

© NASA

The Great Moon Race began with the support of NASA in 2022 – only one thing worries some participants: In 2019, three missions to the moon took off – only one of which did not crash and was successful. “We all got scared after the failure,” planetary scientist Robert Grimm told Science. “what did I do wrong?” Grimm is responsible for preparing two missions scheduled to fly to the Moon in the coming years.

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Four of the 10 planned CLPS missions to the Moon are landings at Earth’s south pole and several scientific instruments aboard the Lunar Water Research Probe, an important topic for additional NASA plans: NASA wants the following people in 2024 to bring the moon – the date is questionable Among the experts, but a new date has not yet been announced. But one thing is already clear: this time NASA wants to search for the moon in a “sustainable” way, and therefore it is exploring in advance the water resources that astronauts can use. (appearance)

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