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NASA ends the Lunar Landing Agreement with OrbitBeyond – Spaceflight Now



OrbitBeyond's Z-01 Lunar Lander. Credit: OrbitBeyond

NASA has terminated a $ 97 million contract with OrbitBeyond, a New Jersey-based company. The company plans to build Lunar Landing Robots in Florida just two months after announcing an agreement to send scientific instruments to the lunar surface as soon as possible next year.

OrbitBeyond told NASA "internal challenges that prevent the timely completion of its mandate," the Space Agency said in a statement Monday.

NASA announced contracts worth $ 253.5 million with OrbitBeyond, Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines on May 31 to fly science payloads on three commercial land emissions in 2020 and 2021 to the Moon.

At that point, OrbitBeyond said it could reach an unmanned moon landing in September 2020.

said NASA requested to be released from its mandate agreement, and the space agency has responded to the request. Officials announced the NASA order to OrbitBeyond with effect from July 28 to "mutually agreed terms," ​​the space agency said in a statement.

Officials did not disclose any further details of the reason for terminating the contract.

NASA said the cancellation of the contract with OrbitBeyond will not affect the lunar landing emissions planned by Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines in July 2021 CLPS, program.

NASA selected the nine commercial operators last year to promote the development of privately-owned lunar lands with the goal of achieving a regular cadence of robotic landings on the Moon, similar to NASA's Freight and Crew Model. Transport services to the International Space Station.

The NASA's CLPS program is also a precursor to NASA's acquisition of large-scale equipment. The Space Agency's Artemis program uses lunar countries recommended by humans to carry astronauts to the lunar surface. NASA officials have described the CLPS program as an experiment designed to test contractual mechanisms and the willingness of the commercial industry to play a greater role in a moonlighting campaign.

"We know that CLPS missions will be challenging for a variety of reasons, and you may not always be successful," said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's scientific missions division in Washington. "We are ready to take some risk to quickly return to the moon with commercial partners and to undertake exciting scientific and technological developments with a wide range of applications." -01 The lander was to carry up to four NASA payloads to the lunar surface and aim at the launch point in the near-moon Mare Imbrium region.

The OrbitBeyond Lander is based on a design developed by TeamIndus. An Indian team that once fought for the Google Lunar X Prize. TeamIndus is not the only one authorized to compete for CLPS contracts open to US companies.

OrbitBeyond planned to reuse the design of the Indian team for Mission Z-01 in 2020 Siba Padhi, President and CEO of OrbitBeyond, said in May that the company was still in the process of securing full funding for the development of the company Lander Z-01. NASA's contract with OrbitBeyond related to the payment of services and did not finance the initial development costs of the lander, which must come from other sources outside the CLPS program.

OrbitBeyond counts Ceres Robotics and Honeybee Robotics among its key partners in the Commercial Lunar Landing program.

Landing mission Z-01 should be launched as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

E-mail the author. [19659003] Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .


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