NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking ideas from industry for the agency to possibly participate in existing or future uncrewed commercial missions to the moon.
NASA is interested in assessing the availability of a commercial launch from Earth to the lunar surface to provide landing services as early as Fiscal Year 2018, and through the next decade.
This approach offers the agency the potential to simultaneously address high-priority science, critical strategic objectives related to exploration, and technology demonstration, using commercially provided domestic space services and hardware.
The RFI is being used to obtain information for planning purposes only. Deadline for submissions is 30 days.
“Today’s call for ideas from our industry partners is an important step for us to continue lunar exploration and beyond,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. “After numerous successful human and robotic missions, NASA remains committed to continue high-priority lunar science.”
Following recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey and discussions with NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and Space Technology Mission Directorate officials in Washington, SMD has identified a variety of objectives that could be addressed sending instruments, experiments, or other payloads to the lunar surface.
These would consist of NASA primary, secondary, or NASA hosted payloads and include the potential to gather data from commercial lunar surface missions and/or return payloads or samples to the Earth.
“NASA is interested in understanding how commercial lunar cargo transportation opportunities can help advance our knowledge of the Moon and its potential resources for exploration,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate.
NASA lunar science has helped to map the moon, determine the presence of water ice, and understand Earth’s satellite’s irregular gravity field. Future missions could help characterize the internal structure of the moon, characterize ancient impact basins, in addition to demonstrating key technologies necessary to establish sustainable exploration.
NASA’s current missions studying the moon are helping the agency understand our solar system better, informing future exploration efforts of the moon and other planetary bodies, and bringing the agency closer to the technologies needed to explore future destinations like Mars.
To view the RFI and guidelines in detail, visit: