Two American companies may beat NASA to the moon

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The Future. Two private companies, Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic Technology and Houston’s Intuitive Machines are in a NASA-backed space race to land on the moon. It’s the first phase of NASA’s plan to tap private firms to become lunar delivery services. If either landing is successful, the companies might become key players in setting up a sustainable lunar colony.

Houston, we’re going private
According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines are “scouts going to the moon ahead of us.”

  • Astrobotic Technology’s “Peregrine” lander takes off today aboard the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan, carrying 20 research packages for seven countries.
  • Intuitive Machine’s “Nova-C” lander launches in mid-February aboard a SpaceX flight, carrying five packages for NASA.
  • Both are expected to land in late February… as long as there are no rocket delays (something both companies have suffered).
  • Peregrine is also carrying the DNA or ashes of 70 people, including Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and renowned sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke.

Nova C is landing on the moon’s south pole, while Peregrine will land there on a second machine — both with the goal of finding frozen water. That’s where the scouting comes in: NASA’s manned Artemis missions later this decade have a goal to harvest the water for drinking and to help develop rocket fuel.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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