Credit: Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

 

It’s a good day for privately-backed lunar landers.

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has released a Request for Information (RFI) so the space agency can assess proposals for Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads.

This NASA program element would solicit flight payloads that do not require significant additional development.

Science goals, knowledge gaps, tech demos

Investigations are being sought that address the science goals of any of four SMD space agency divisions: Planetary, Earth Science, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics.

Also being eyed are flight payloads for tackling Strategic Knowledge Gaps of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) or any technology demonstration goals of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) that advance capabilities for science, exploration, or commercial development of the Moon.

Private sector Moon rover.
Credit: Carnegie Mellon/Mark Maxwell

Flight opportunity

The first lander flight opportunity could occur as early as 2020. As such, proposals should “convincingly demonstrate” that the proposed payload will be ready to support an aggressive launch schedule.

The deadline for this RFI is September 27, 2018.

“This is yet another important development for our community,” said Dan Hendrickson, Vice President of Business Development at Astrobotic Technology, Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are among several groups striving to give the Moon the business. “NASA highly encourages payload teams to reach out to commercial lander service providers directly,” Hendrickson added in an Astrobotic statement.

For detailed information, go to:

https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/summary!init.do?solId=%7b2D390C4D-39F9-E880-34C8-C07DC523698E%7d&path=open

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