NASA continues its push for a : On Thursday, it said it has selected almost a dozen aerospace companies to help it get closer to a new lunar lander.
The space agency revealed the names of 11 companies that will begin studies or production of human lander prototypes for its Artemis lunar exploration program. Making the list are Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
"To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business," Marshall Smith, director for human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters, said in a press release. "We will streamline everything from procurement to partnerships to hardware development and even operations."
On Monday, NASA announced the, which it expects will put humans -- including the first woman -- on the moon by 2024 and will have sustainable missions by 2028.
The plan for these companies is to develop transportation to go from a lunar gateway spacecraft to low-lunar orbit then to the moon surface and then return back to the gateway. There are also plans for refueling options to allow for repeat missions.
As part of this partnership, the companies will pay at least 20% of the costs and can begin work while they negotiate contracts with NASA. The total amount available for these companies is $45.5 million.
NASA listed the companies it selected and what they will be working on:
- Aerojet Rocketdyne – Canoga Park, California. One transfer vehicle study.
- Blue Origin – Kent, Washington. One descent element study, one transfer vehicle study and one transfer vehicle prototype.
- Boeing – Houston. One descent element study, two descent element prototypes, one transfer vehicle study, one transfer vehicle prototype, one refueling element study and one refueling element prototype.
- Dynetics – Huntsville, Alabama. One descent element study and five descent element prototypes.
- Lockheed Martin – Littleton, Colorado. One descent element study, four descent element prototypes, one transfer vehicle study, and one refueling element study.
- Masten Space Systems – Mojave, California. One descent element prototype.
- Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems – Dulles, Virginia. One descent element study, four descent element prototypes, one refueling element study, and one refueling element prototype.
- OrbitBeyond – Edison, New Jersey. Two refueling element prototypes.
- Sierra Nevada -- Louisville, Colorado, and Madison, Wisconsin. One descent element study, one descent element prototype, one transfer vehicle study, one transfer vehicle prototype and one refueling element study.
- SpaceX – Hawthorne, California. One descent element study.
- SSL – Palo Alto, California. One refueling element study and one refueling element prototype.