NASA Selects 3 Moon Landing Service Providers for Artemis Program

Pablo Tucker
June 2, 2019

Lego is also unveiling seven new Lego City Mars Exploration building sets, inspired by NASA's planned missions to explore the moon and the Red Planet.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first successful moon landing, Lego has teamed up with NASA to create a 1,087-piece building set of the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander.

NASA's Apollo 11 mission to land the first humans on the moon involved the contributions of thousands of workers. We look forward to working with them to have our payloads delivered and opening the door for returning humans to the Moon.

Astrobotic announced that it has been selected by NASA's CLPS program to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine Lander in July 2021, a contract that is worth $79.5 million.

Indeed, NASA has just chosen its first three commercial partners for the "Artemis" Moon return program.

The three commercial companies selected by NASA for its lunar payload missions are Astrobotic in Pittsburgh, Intuitive Machines in Houston, and Orbit Beyond in New Jersey.

The potential payloads include instruments that will conduct new lunar science, pinpoint lander position, measure the lunar radiation environment, assess how lander and astronaut activity affects the Moon, and assist with navigation precision, among other capabilities.

An initial competition to develop small moon landers was announced in November 2018.

Intuitive Machines is being given slightly less cash; $77 million in total.

Orbit Beyond has proposed to fly up to four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in one of the moon's craters.

Intuitive Machine's Nova-C lunar lander.

The advanced LEGO set features a detailed replica of the Eagle lunar lander with separate ascent and descent stages, plus a depiction of the lunar surface with crater, footprints and a USA flag, Apollo 11 Lunar lander nameplate and golden elements.

While the relatively low-priced missions will lack the multiple layers of redundancy typical of NASA planetary missions, Clarke said "I have high confidence in these three companies".

The Apollo 11 set will be on sale June 1, while the newer sets will be available in North America beginning June 23.

"These three companies showed what I would call credible technical plans, well thought out, with schedule and costs commensurate with their plans, and they identified the risks along the way", he said.

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