Three Private Companies Backed by NASA would Carry out Moon Landings Soon
Recently, the space agency NASA announced the Moon landings by three private companies, signing a contract with them. Orbit Beyond of New Jersey, Astrobotic of Pittsburgh, and Intuitive Machines of Houston have been authorised to promote scientific investments to the Moon, delivering instruments to carry out experiments via payloads in the next two years.
NASA, known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and established in 1958, aims to bring new revelations by contributing to the aeronautics and aerospace research programs.
Following the announcement, it came into notice that none of the private companies have landed successfully on the Moon earlier. The US had its last soft landing on the Moon in December 1972, 46 years back in time. Thereby, with the help of the private companies, the space agency would be able to carry out more successful moon landings in the future, exploring the lunar surface.
The three companies were chosen under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services, a program that aims to make the lunar surface equitable for the landers for discovering the available resources, creating a confined area for the crew that would be present on the Moon.
On the same context, Thomas Zurbuchen, head of space agency said, “The most important goal we have right now is really science, but we do so as part of the agency’s strategy to go to the Moon.”
“We want to do it with partners. We want to not only go there, but to grow an industry. That’s the only way we can stay,” Zurbuchen added.
With the goal of encouraging peaceful applications in space science, NASA awarded all the three companies so that they can implement the payload orders for the Moon landings. Orbit Beyond got $97 million to send its Z-01 lander spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket to a lava plain about 30 degrees north of lunar equator in September 2020. The company is expected to launch four experiments for NASA, checking how close one can put a habitat to the landing site and its varying effects on the nearby structures and environment.
The other two companies named Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines received $79.5 and $77 million respectively. The role of the former is to send about 14 payloads launched on Falcon 9 or Atlas V, over to the Lacus Mortis while the latter would carry five payloads on a Falcon 9 rocket to Oceanus Procellarum in 2021.
NASA that has earlier carried out various launches on the lunar surface with the belief that at least one of the many might become a success, accepting the low cost, experimental nature of the program has now considered providing a balance costs and constraints for the Moon landing missions.
However, the real question emerging is whether the three private companies would be able to succeed in making soft Moon landings, despite being awarded, and if not then what more needs to be done to get it synchronised with the systems to avoid crashing.
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