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Author Topic:   NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services
Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-29-2018 01:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Announces New Partnerships for Commercial Lunar Payload Delivery Services

Nine U.S. companies now are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts, as one of the first steps toward long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.

These companies will be able to bid on delivering science and technology payloads for NASA, including payload integration and operations, launching from Earth and landing on the surface of the Moon. NASA expects to be one of many customers that will use these commercial landing services.

"Today's announcement marks tangible progress in America's return to the Moon's surface to stay," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "The innovation of America's aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve amazing things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars."

The selected companies are:

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) initiated the request for proposals leading to these selections as the first step in achieving a variety of science and technology objectives that could be addressed by regularly sending instruments, experiments and other small payloads to the Moon. SMD serves as the NASA interface between the agency's mission directorates, the scientific community, and other external stakeholders in developing a strategy to enable an integrated approach for robotic and human exploration within NASA's Moon to Mars Exploration Campaign.

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. The agency will look at a number of factors when comparing the bids, such as technical feasibility, price and schedule.

Lunar payloads could fly on these contracted missions as early as 2019. In October, NASA issued a call for potential lunar instruments and technologies to study the Moon, with proposals due in January. These early missions will enable important technology demonstrations that will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for humans to return to the lunar surface, and help prepare the agency to send astronauts to explore Mars.

NASA will re-examine the private market periodically for new and emerging lunar delivery capabilities, and may offer additional companies an opportunity to join Commercial Lunar Payload Services through a contract process called on-ramping.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-15-2019 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA is accelerating its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, where NASA will buy payload space on commercially developed landers, reports SpaceNews.
The first of those task orders will be announced in the next month, said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, pending finalization of the agency’s fiscal year 2019 budget. “We’d like to fly this calendar year,” he said. “We want to go fast.” The ability to do so, he said, will depend on whether companies have landers ready to go.

To try to get a first CLPS payload launched this year, Zurbuchen said it will offer unspecified financial bonuses. “If you can fly faster, we will incentivize that,” he said. “We care about speed.”

NASA is also lining up payloads to fly on those CLPS missions. Zurbuchen said NASA will announce the week of Feb. 18 the selection of about 12 payloads proposed within the agency that would be ready to fly later this year. “If we have a ride in late 2019, we will have instruments in late 2019,” he said.

Those payloads will be a mix of science and technology development investigations, from a near-infrared spectrometer to a test of stereo imaging to analyze plumes created during landing. Some of those, he said, were originally developed for Resource Prospector, a NASA mission cancelled as the agency shifted to commercial landers.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-21-2019 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects Experiments for Possible Lunar Flights in 2019

NASA has selected 12 science and technology demonstration payloads to fly to the Moon as early as the end of this year, dependent upon the availability of commercial landers. These selections represent an early step toward the agency's long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and, later, Mars.

"The Moon has unique scientific value and the potential to yield resources, such as water and oxygen," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Its proximity to Earth makes it especially valuable as a proving ground for deeper space exploration."

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) initiated the request for proposals leading to these selections as the first step in achieving a variety of science and technology objectives that could be met by regularly sending instruments, experiments and other small payloads to the Moon.

"This payload selection announcement is the exciting next step on our path to return to the surface of the Moon," said Steve Clarke, SMD's deputy associate administrator for Exploration at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The selected payloads, along with those that will be awarded through the Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads call, will begin to build a healthy pipeline of scientific investigations and technology development payloads that we can fly to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial landing delivery services. Future calls for payloads are planned to be released each year for additional opportunities," he said.

The selected payloads include a variety of scientific instruments.

  • The Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer will measure the lunar surface radiation environment.

  • Three resource prospecting instruments have been selected to fly:
    • The Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System is an imaging spectrometer that will measure surface composition.

    • The Neutron Spectrometer System and Advanced Neutron Measurements at the Lunar Surface are neutron spectrometers that will measure hydrogen abundance.

    • The Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometer for Lunar Surface Volatiles instrument is an ion-trap mass spectrometer that will measure volatile contents in the surface and lunar exosphere.

  • A magnetometer will measure the surface magnetic field.

  • The Low-frequency Radio Observations from the Near Side Lunar Surface instrument, a radio science instrument, will measure the photoelectron sheath density near the surface.

  • Three instruments will acquire critical information during entry, descent and landing on the lunar surface, which will inform the design of future landers including the next human lunar lander.

  • The Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies will image the interaction between the lander engine plume as it hits the lunar surface.

  • The Surface and Exosphere Alterations by Landers payload will monitor how the landing affects the lunar exosphere.

  • The Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing payload will make precise velocity and ranging measurements during the descent that will help develop precision landing capabilities for future landers.
There also are two technology demonstrations selected to fly.
  • The Solar Cell Demonstration Platform for Enabling Long-Term Lunar Surface Power will demonstrate advanced solar arrays for longer mission duration.

  • The Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator will demonstrate a navigational beacon to assist with geolocation for lunar orbiting spacecraft and landers.
NASA facilities across the nation are developing the payloads, including Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley; Glenn Research Center in Cleveland; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; Johnson Space Center in Houston; Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia; and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Nine U.S. companies, selected through NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) in November 2018, currently are developing landers to deliver NASA payloads to the Moon's surface. As CLPS providers, they are pre-authorized to compete on individual delivery orders.

NASA also released the Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payload (LSITP) call in October 2018 soliciting proposals for science instrument and technology investigations. The final LSITP proposals are due Feb. 27 and awards are expected to be made this spring.

"Once we have awarded the first CLPS mission task order later this spring, we will then select the specific payloads from the internal-NASA and LSITP calls to fly on that mission. Subsequent missions will fly other NASA instrument and technology development packages in addition to commercial payloads," said Clarke.

Commercial lunar payload delivery services for small payloads, and developing lunar landers for large payloads, to conduct more research on the Moon's surface is a vital step ahead of a human return.

As the next major step to return astronauts to the Moon under Space Policy Directive-1, NASA has announced plans to work with American companies to design and develop new reusable systems for astronauts to land on the lunar surface. The agency is planning to test new human-class landers on the Moon beginning in 2024, with the goal of sending crew to the surface by 2028.

SpaceAholic
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posted 03-26-2019 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA issued the first lunar surface delivery task order to Commercial Lunar Payload Services partners today.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-31-2019 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects First Commercial Moon Landing Services for Artemis Program

NASA has selected three commercial Moon landing service providers that will deliver science and technology payloads under Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) as part of the Artemis program. Each commercial lander will carry NASA-provided payloads that will conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024.

"Our selection of these U.S. commercial landing service providers represents America's return to the Moon's surface for the first time in decades, and it's a huge step forward for our Artemis lunar exploration plans," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Next year, our initial science and technology research will be on the lunar surface, which will help support sending the first woman and the next man to the Moon in five years. Investing in these commercial landing services also is another strong step to build a commercial space economy beyond low-Earth orbit."

As part of their submissions, each partner proposed flying specific NASA instruments to the lunar surface. By the end of the summer, NASA will determine which payloads will fly on each flight. The potential payloads include instruments that will conduct new lunar science, pinpoint lander position, measure the lunar radiation environment, assess how lander and astronaut activity affects the Moon, and assist with navigation precision, among other capabilities.

The selections are:

  • Astrobotic of Pittsburgh has been awarded $79.5 million and has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to Lacus Mortis, a large crater on the near side of the Moon, by July 2021.
  • Intuitive Machines of Houston has been awarded $77 million. The company has proposed to fly as many as five payloads to Oceanus Procellarum, a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon, by July 2021.
  • Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, has been awarded $97 million and has proposed to fly as many as four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in one of the Moon's craters, by September 2020.

"These landers are just the beginning of exciting commercial partnerships that will bring us closer to solving the many scientific mysteries of our Moon, our solar system, and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "What we learn will not only change our view of the universe, but also prepare our human missions to the Moon and eventually Mars."

Each partner is providing end-to-end commercial payload delivery services to NASA, including payload integration and operations, launch from Earth and landing on the surface of the Moon. These early missions will enable important technology demonstrations that will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for humans to return to the lunar surface. They also will help prepare the agency to send astronauts to explore Mars.

"This announcement starts a significant step in NASA's collaboration with our commercial partners," said Chris Culbert, CLPS program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "NASA is committed to working with industry to enable the next round of lunar exploration. The companies we have selected represent a diverse community of exciting small American companies, each with their own unique, innovative approach to getting to the Moon. We look forward to working with them to have our payloads delivered and opening the door for returning humans to the Moon."

As additional science, technology demonstration, and human exploration requirements for payloads develop, a request for task order bids will go to all current CLPS contractors. All nine companies initially selected in November 2018 for CLPS will be eligible to bid on subsequent task orders.

Headshot
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posted 05-31-2019 02:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who chose the landing areas, the contractors or NASA?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-31-2019 02:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The companies' proposals included the landing sites they were targeting. Now the three companies have been selected, NASA says it will review the site choices to maximize the return on its contracted science payloads.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-29-2019 09:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
Commercial Lunar Payload Services Update

NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services contract was designed for quick access to the Moon with science and technology payloads delivered by commercial partners. Since the project began, NASA has selected nine companies that are eligible to bid on specific task orders based on NASA priorities. The agency also has announced 12 payloads consisting of science instruments developed around the country at NASA centers. Early this month NASA selected 12 additional instruments being developed by outside organizations that would help the agency return to the Moon and have broader applications to Mars and beyond. Those payloads have not yet been assigned flights.

"We know that CLPS missions are going to be challenging for various reasons, and they may not always succeed," said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "We're willing to accept some risk in order to get back to the Moon quickly, with commercial partners, and do exciting science and technology development with broad applications."

While the first three companies selected to carry payloads to the Moon were announced in May, one of them, Orbit Beyond, Inc., has informed NASA of internal corporate challenges that will prevent the timely completion of its awarded task order. As a result, Orbit Beyond requested to be released from the task order agreement. NASA made a contract administration decision to comply with OBI's request and, as a result, terminated the task order effective July 28, 2019 on terms mutually agreeable to both parties. Orbit Beyond remains a CLPS contract awardee and may be eligible to compete for future CLPS opportunities.

NASA's selections of the two other vendors (Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines) are not impacted by this decision. NASA is still on track to having our first science payloads delivered to the lunar surface in 2021. Astrobiotic has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to Lacus Mortis, a large crater on the near side of the Moon, by July 2021. Intuitive Machines has proposed to fly as many as five payloads for NASA to Oceanus Procellarum, a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon, by July 2021.

The CLPS program continues to formulate additional requests for task order proposals to expand the scope of NASA payloads requiring transportation services to the lunar surface in advance of human return. CLPS remains strong and the project includes diverse partners helping NASA to get to the lunar surface quickly and efficiently.

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