Following Elon Musk's recent appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast - during which he smoked weed and drank whiskey while on the air - NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the SpaceX CEO promised him he will not behave inappropriately in public again.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of when USA astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. This new plan hopes to allow for a diverse array of customers send their payloads to the Moon.
The initial deliveries likely will include radiation monitors, as well as laser reflectors for gravity and other types of measurements, according to Zurbuchen.
Talking about Musk's past behaviour, Bridenstine said he had spoken with Musk. Maintaining a permanent human presence in lunar orbit will require a lot of support services that NASA can't handle on its own.
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"The Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts are indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts with a combined maximum contract value of $2.6 billion during the next 10 years", said a NASA statement.
The campaign has five strategic goals: transitioning low-Earth orbit human spaceflight, like the International Space Station, to more commercial operations; using robotic missions to discover resources on the moon; furthering surface operations on the moon; returning astronauts to the moon's surface; and demonstrating what's necessary for human missions to Mars. SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, formerly Orbital ATK, have built space station shipments since 2012. It expects to start hearing proposals by January. Following a directive signed previous year by President Trump, the aerospace administration launched the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.
In the 1960s, Draper Laboratory in Cambridge helped the United States beat Russian Federation to the moon.
Bridenstine also pledged to establish a manned base on Moon within a decade.
In addition to Lockheed Martin, NASA selected Draper, which developed computers for the Apollo missions, Astrobotic Technology Inc, Firefly Aerospace Inc, Moon Express and four others to potentially develop equipment for the program.
The reviews are needed to "ensure the companies are meeting NASA's requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment", Bridenstine said, noting the scrutiny is "necessary and appropriate" for human space exploration, The Atlantic reported. Expectations should not exceed 50 percent, Zurbuchen stressed.