Author Topic: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings  (Read 7697 times)

Offline AncientU

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NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« on: 05/03/2017 04:53 PM »
New RFI:
Quote
NASA is interested in the Moon again. This week the space agency issued a new "request for information" to the aerospace industry for cargo transportation to the lunar surface. This new opportunity appears to represent NASA's increasing willingness to reconsider the Moon as a destination for human spaceflight.

Offered jointly by the agency's science, human spaceflight, and technology directorates, in its new request NASA seeks to partner with the commercial sector to deliver scientific payloads to the Moon. "NASA has identified a variety of exploration, science, and technology demonstration objectives that could be addressed by sending instruments, experiments, or other payloads to the lunar surface," the document states. "To address these objectives as cost-effectively as possible, NASA may procure payloads and related commercial payload delivery services to the Moon."

Specifically, the request seeks opportunities as early as fiscal year 2018, running through the next decade for "agreed-upon" locations on the Moon, and the provision of power, communications, and thermal control both during the flight and on the surface of the Moon. Additionally, in the request, NASA says it may also seek the return of lunar samples to Earth.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/nasa-seeks-industry-help-with-lunar-landings-potentially-sample-return/

COTS Model?

Here's the RFI:
Quote
Lunar Surface Cargo Transportation Services Request for Information (RFI)
Solicitation Number: NNH17ZDA006L
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office: Headquarters
Location: HQ Code 210.H

Quote
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate are soliciting information under this Request for Information (RFI) to determine whether or not there are interested and available domestic vendor sources capable of meeting the identified requirements. This document is for information and planning purposes only and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition. NASA is seeking capability statements from all interested parties...
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=970ad3020c0f35f26bc0621fbf8f3b64
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 05:01 PM by AncientU »
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Offline DreamyPickle

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #1 on: 09/13/2017 09:45 PM »
From SpaceNews: NASA preparing call for proposals for commercial lunar landers.

Quote
In testimony Sept. 7 at a House space subcommittee hearing on private lunar exploration, Jason Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA, said the agency was developing a call for proposals for such services after evaluating the results from a request for information (RFI) earlier in the year.

“What we are now looking at doing is actually buying landed delivery services in the next fiscal year, of actually buying the first ability to land small payloads,” he said. “We’re preparing for the solicitation as we speak.”

I've tried to find out more about this but the RFI is very bare. The interesting parts:

Quote
The requirement is to provide a commercial launch and landing service on existing or forthcoming FAA licensed commercial missions to the lunar surface for NASA primary payloads, NASA secondary payloads, or NASA hosted payloads, with the potential to also procure data from any commercial lunar surface missions and/or return payloads or samples to the Earth.
Services will include:
(1) Physical and analytical integration of the NASA payloads or instruments onto the existing or forthcoming commercial mission;
(2) Transportation to the Moon for the NASA payloads or instruments, to include landing and surface access to agreed-upon locations on the Lunar surface; and
(3) Provision of "utilities" such as power, communications, thermal control, etc., during launch integration, launch and cruise phase, and perhaps for a limited period of time after landing.

Services could also include:
(1) The purchase of science or engineering data provided by contractor payloads; and
(2) The return of payload and/or samples to the Earth.

Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #2 on: 09/14/2017 06:23 PM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #3 on: 09/15/2017 12:00 AM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #4 on: 09/15/2017 10:26 AM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

IMHO If the XEUS is landing people in a cabin it is unlikely to be returning to LLO empty.

My reading of this situation is Masten Space will get the XL-1T to prototype the engines by flying on Earth & make money from a fleet of XL-1 cargo landers landing on the Moon. Then the Katana vertical thrusters will get a high priority. If there is a prototype ACES upper stage available Masten will test the thrusters on that alternatively they will use the Centaur upper stage.

ULA may get both a Centaur XEUS kit and a larger ACES XEUS kit.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #5 on: 09/15/2017 09:23 PM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

IMHO If the XEUS is landing people in a cabin it is unlikely to be returning to LLO empty.

My reading of this situation is Masten Space will get the XL-1T to prototype the engines by flying on Earth & make money from a fleet of XL-1 cargo landers landing on the Moon. Then the Katana vertical thrusters will get a high priority. If there is a prototype ACES upper stage available Masten will test the thrusters on that alternatively they will use the Centaur upper stage.

ULA may get both a Centaur XEUS kit and a larger ACES XEUS kit.
Possible since ULA has said they will be flying the Centaur (20mt prop size) based ACES on Atlas V before Vulcan flies. An ACES on Atlas V could have an interesting impact on other items especially if the lighter/smaller ACES has a capability for distributive launch. If that is also tested out on this early ACES then it is possible for the transport to LLO of ~10mt using 2 Atlas V launches. With 4 Atlas V launches then a XEUS ~4mt of payload round trip LLO and surface. With 6 Atlas V launches using ACES US a manned mission to the surface can be performed. Requires 2 Atlas V launches to be able to get a Starliner to LLO to dock with the Xeus lander.

So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #6 on: 09/16/2017 10:14 AM »
{snip}
So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Cargo lunar landings can be sold as showing the USA is returning to greatness. Following on from the success of cubesats there are likely to be plenty of university professors and NASA scientists who will want their own lunar-cube. Expect lobbying at NASA, national and state levels.

I suspect that President Trump's two terms will be over before the USA gets a man back to the Moon. However many senators will desire the glory of a manned landing by NASA astronauts and building a Moon base when they are president.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #7 on: 09/16/2017 04:49 PM »
{snip}
So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Cargo lunar landings can be sold as showing the USA is returning to greatness. Following on from the success of cubesats there are likely to be plenty of university professors and NASA scientists who will want their own lunar-cube. Expect lobbying at NASA, national and state levels.

I suspect that President Trump's two terms will be over before the USA gets a man back to the Moon. However many senators will desire the glory of a manned landing by NASA astronauts and building a Moon base when they are president.
NASA has interest. But not the funding. As long as the price tag for these missions is below $50M/yr then they will get funded because such low numbers of funding get little congressional visibility in the NASA budget unless they are a build up to a larger program. Example the ARM. As long as this program can remain in this low key category it has a chance to accomplish some significant advancement. It will surprise many by letting the commercial small lander companies be the lead and NASA just purchasing rides like they did for CRS. So expect SAA's to help them develop the landers' capability followed by purchase of rides to the surface for payloads (instruments/rovers).

After each capability level goes into operation the program is likely to expand to a new level of capability with new larger landers under SAA development and a corresponding larger budget divided into two parts. One for the payloads and purchase of rides (operational side) and the other to develop each generation of larger landers (development side). All of this is one of those COTS under the radar efforts by NASA to develop a generic transportation service that is lower in cost than what they could develop on their own that produces multiple providers of cheep small payload rides to the Lunar surface.

Edit: spelling
« Last Edit: 09/16/2017 04:51 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #8 on: 10/10/2017 01:43 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #9 on: 10/10/2017 03:30 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #10 on: 10/10/2017 03:39 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

You can ask Jeff Foust but I would think so. Blue Origin was trying to convince Congress that it should have a bigger COTS-like program for its Blue Moon lander proposal. I don't believe that there is currently any plans for that now (at least not under a CR).

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #11 on: 10/10/2017 03:57 PM »
My expectation is the standard delineation of contracts of an COTS like SAA for a milestone based development program for small landers followed by a FFP contract for additional operation landings. An incentive is no profit for failed landings but most of the costs covered even though a failure occurs. This is similar to the CRS structure. A similar contracting structure with similar incentives to succeed should work well with the small companies.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #12 on: 10/10/2017 05:20 PM »
Its good news for likes of Astrobotic and Moon Express. Both companies think they can survive on commercial payloads, NASA missions will give them a nice boost.

Masten are also developing small landers besides Xeus work, not a lot info on where they are at.

Blue's lander is probably to big for initial exploration missions but will come into its own when setup a base either robotic or human.

Having known delivery price per kg for various payload sizes should help NASA planners. These delivery prices are likely to come down in price.

NASA doesn't need to design every payload, its probably better to buy services.  Power is good example, NASA asks for price per kwhr at lunar south pole, how commercial suppliers deliver it is upto them. The same goes for communication.

Offline yg1968

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #13 on: 10/10/2017 05:22 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

You can ask Jeff Foust but I would think so. Blue Origin was trying to convince Congress that it should have a bigger COTS-like program for its Blue Moon lander proposal. I don't believe that there is currently any plans for that now (at least not under a CR).

I asked Jeff Foust and he said smaller than Blue Moon's capacity.

Offline savuporo

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #14 on: 10/10/2017 07:16 PM »
It will be real nice if this is sized for all operational and remotely applicable US launchers, including Antares.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #15 on: 10/11/2017 02:36 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Melissa Sampson, ULA: with ACES upper stage and distributed launch, can deliver 12 metric tons to lunar surface with XEUS lander. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/918094293482524672

Offline envy887

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #16 on: 10/11/2017 05:18 PM »
It will be real nice if this is sized for all operational and remotely applicable US launchers, including Antares.

Antares 232 (which hasn't yet flown) can get 1530 kg to TLI, which is roughly 300-500 kg of payload to the lunar surface. Certainly enough to be interesting.

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #17 on: 10/12/2017 02:22 AM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Melissa Sampson, ULA: with ACES upper stage and distributed launch, can deliver 12 metric tons to lunar surface with XEUS lander. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/918094293482524672

I assume this 12 metric ton payload is with an expendable XEUS and refuelling at LEO but not at the Deep Space Gateway.

Online Ronsmytheiii

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #18 on: 01/07/2018 11:21 AM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

You can ask Jeff Foust but I would think so. Blue Origin was trying to convince Congress that it should have a bigger COTS-like program for its Blue Moon lander proposal. I don't believe that there is currently any plans for that now (at least not under a CR).


CCCDev-1 was for $50 million (though much less than asked for) so there is precedent to start a large program on a small budget. Might be useful to develop proposal con-ops and limited hardware:

http://www.spacepolitics.com/2009/07/03/shelby-wins-battle-on-stimulus-funding/
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #19 on: 01/07/2018 05:29 PM »
There are two options for lunar lander.
1) do complete 5-6 km/s DV round trip from DSH and be able survive for few weeks on surface. Two stage is probably best option here with 1st stage being expendable.
2) Wait for ISRU to be in place with surface refuelling, in which case a lot cheaper 2.5 -3km/s single stage reuseble lander can do job.

Staging from LLO reduces lander DV to about 1.8km/s one way but SLS an Orion can't support LLO operations.

If long term plan is permanent base then lander should be designed for surface refuelling, in which case wait till ISRU operations are further along.


Offline BrightLight

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #20 on: 01/07/2018 07:34 PM »


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, The Opportunity in Commercial Approaches for Future NASA Deep Space Exploration Elements. by Edgar Zapataa, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Kennedy Space Center, FL, 32899.
https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20170008893 2018-01-07T04:37:58+00:00Z

Zapata has been evaluating public-private partnerships (PP) for NASA exploration, in this figure note the cost for Altair by standard sole-source vs. PPP - better than 1/3 the cost - this aligns well with what SpaceX did with Falcon.  Also, note the cost for a 40-ton payload to Mars surface - can that lander also go to the lunar surface, huge payload!

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #21 on: 01/07/2018 10:51 PM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.

Online Steven Pietrobon

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #22 on: 01/08/2018 04:50 AM »
Staging from LLO reduces lander DV to about 1.8km/s one way but SLS an Orion can't support LLO operations.

Yes it can, provided EUS does Lunar orbit insertion (LOI). I'm not sure if EUS is being designed to last the three day Lunar transit though.
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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #23 on: 01/08/2018 05:18 AM »
The Orion propellant load is only about 9 tons. If they could increase that to about 13, it might have been able to insert itself into LLO. But I'm not sure of the specific impulse and delta-v for Orion :(
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #24 on: 01/08/2018 07:19 AM »
Staging from LLO reduces lander DV to about 1.8km/s one way but SLS an Orion can't support LLO operations.

Yes it can, provided EUS does Lunar orbit insertion (LOI). I'm not sure if EUS is being designed to last the three day Lunar transit though.
I deliberately left it at current SLS/Orion design, to may what ifs, eg  long life EUS.

Online Lar

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #25 on: 01/08/2018 03:37 PM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.
Powerpoints are great!

But an actual plan, with funding, that resulted in an actual lander? Even better.  Preferably commercial, as that's far cheaper.
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Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #26 on: 01/08/2018 03:52 PM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.
Powerpoints are great!

But an actual plan, with funding, that resulted in an actual lander? Even better.  Preferably commercial, as that's far cheaper.
Plus a CRS or CC COTS like program can result in multiple providers competing for the anchor tenant NASA and other follow-on commercial/scientific customers. As with CC and CRS, NASA was able to get multiple providers developed through PPP for cheaper than for a single NASA government driven sole sourced design procurement.

Offline BrightLight

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #27 on: 01/08/2018 08:41 PM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.
Powerpoints are great!

But an actual plan, with funding, that resulted in an actual lander? Even better.  Preferably commercial, as that's far cheaper.
Plus a CRS or CC COTS like program can result in multiple providers competing for the anchor tenant NASA and other follow-on commercial/scientific customers. As with CC and CRS, NASA was able to get multiple providers developed through PPP for cheaper than for a single NASA government driven sole sourced design procurement.
That is the point that Zapata was making - that PPP will result in capability substantially less expensive than traditional sole-source contracts.

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #28 on: 01/09/2018 12:25 AM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.
Powerpoints are great!

But an actual plan, with funding, that resulted in an actual lander? Even better.  Preferably commercial, as that's far cheaper.
Plus a CRS or CC COTS like program can result in multiple providers competing for the anchor tenant NASA and other follow-on commercial/scientific customers. As with CC and CRS, NASA was able to get multiple providers developed through PPP for cheaper than for a single NASA government driven sole sourced design procurement.

A long term Moon base/village and mining plan is needed into which the transport system slots.

A president that likes making deals and a Congress that wants to look good without spending any money are people NASA can negotiate with. They will have to be given draft high level plans.

Online A_M_Swallow

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Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #29 on: 01/09/2018 12:36 AM »
Over the next few months there are going to various official design reviews of the lunar landers. Hopefully these will produce some interesting pictures, power points and statistics.
Powerpoints are great!

But an actual plan, with funding, that resulted in an actual lander? Even better.  Preferably commercial, as that's far cheaper.

In April 2018 Astrobotic Technology have Milestone 7:Critical Design Review (CDR) of their Peregrine Lunar Lander. "A System CDR in accordance with the CDR definition."

It is a small lander but it need some payloads.

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