A private lunar lander now has a rocket launch for his first lunar mission.
The robot Nova C-Lander, built by Houston Intuitive Machines, is launched on a SpaceX rocket. Falcon 9-Rocket On a NASA-sponsored flight in 2021, representatives of both companies announced today (October 2).
"We are honored that Intuitive Machines has selected SpaceX's proven workhorse Falcon 9 for this seminal mission to the Moon," said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell in a statement . "Our partnership with Intuitive Machines is a great example of two private companies working with NASA to advance space exploration." ]
In May of this year, NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program used Intuitive Machines and two other companies, Orbit Beyond and Astrobotic, to build landers to bring agencies' payloads to the lunar surface. Intuitive machines received $ 77 million, Astrobotic $ 79.5 million and Orbit Beyond $ 97 million.
According to NASA, these deals provide cost-effective ways to learn more about the moon and demonstrate technologies that allow people to explore Earth's nearest neighbor. These are important short-term priorities for the space agency, which plans to drop two astronauts near the lunar south pole by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on and around the moon by 2028. All this is part of an ambitious program known by the name Artemis.
Nova-C can carry at least 220 lbs. (1
The company will add some payloads from other customers to fill out the Nova-C cargo manifest, Intuitive Machines representatives said.
Astrobotic plans to launch its Wanderlander at about the same time that Nova-C flies into the air for the first time. However, Peregrine will fly with another rocket, Vulcan Centaur of the United Launch Alliance which is still under development. The Peregrine 2021 mission will be the first for both the lander and its launcher.
Orbit Beyond from New Jersey had planned to launch its Z-01 lander in September 2020. However, in July, NASA announced this withdrew from its CLPS business because it would not be able to meet the ambitious schedule.
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