NASA has allocated $45 million to fund upcoming contracts that will provide for activities to help reduce the risks of its future human lander system, which astronauts will ride in regular trips to the Moon’s surface as part of the Artemis program.
The space agency said Thursday it seeks commercial partners and will award risk reduction research and development contracts before the end of 2021.
The firm-fixed-price and milestone-based awards will enable companies to work on HLS designs and safety measures with the help of NASA experts.
The space agency plans to use the recently released NextSTEP-2 Appendix N broad agency announcement to gather industry feedback on the lander’s sustainment requirements, safety and mission assurance, design and construction, and health and medical standards.
“This announcement is a chance for the pioneering private sector to claim their stake in the emerging lunar economy and make history with NASA,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, the HLS program manager at Marshall Space Flight Center.
The BAA acquisition effort will also inform future solicitation for recurring HLS services, which the space agency plans in 2022.
In May 2020, NASA awarded Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX a combined $967 million contract to design the human lander system.