NASA announced its intention to send humans back to the Moon by 2024 earlier this month and revealed Monday it is working with several companies to make sure it happens.
NASA’s proposed plan is to transport astronauts in a human landing system that includes a transfer element for the journey from the lunar Gateway to low-lunar orbit, a descent element to carry them to the surface, and an ascent element to return to them to the Gateway.
NASA released a report which includes a graphic outlining of the agency’s steps toward that return as well as plans for the construction of a permanent Moon base.
“To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business. We will streamline everything from procurement to partnerships to hardware development and even operations,” said Marshall Smith, director for human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters. “Our team is excited to get back to the Moon as quickly as possible, and our public/private partnerships to study human landing systems are an important step in that process.”
Companies who are partnering up with NASA are required to contribute at least 20% of the total project cost.
The total award amount for all companies is $45.5 million, according to NASA.
This partnership will reduce costs to taxpayers and encourage early private investments in the lunar economy, according to NASA.
NASA’s chief scientist Jim Green also said the first woman would be sent to the Moon as part of the project.