The Moon as seen from the International Space Station, taken by ESA British astronaut, Tim Peake.
Credit: NASA/ESA

A House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held today “Private Sector Lunar Exploration.”

The hearing’s purpose focused on NASA support of private sector exploration of the Moon through various programs.

The private sector is also investing their own funding in the hopes of serving a future market for transportation, cargo delivery, and surface operations – including on-the-spot resource utilization.

Cargo carrying Peregrine lander.
Credit: Astrobotic

Missions being readied

For example:

  • Moon Express plans to launch a mission to the Moon later this year or early next year.
  • Astrobotic recently announced a mission in 2019.
  • Blue Origin disclosed its “Blue Moon” concept last spring.
  • The United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have also indicated plans to operate in cislunar space in the near-future.

The Hearing reviewed these efforts, and NASA’s role, in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they present.

Witnesses

Here are the hearing witnesses and their respective written testimony:

  • Jason Crusan, Director, Advanced Exploration Systems, NASA

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-JCrusan-20170907.pdf

  • Bob Richards, Founder and CEO, Moon Express, Inc.

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-RRichards-20170907.pdf

  • John Thornton, Chief Executive Officer, Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-JThornton-20170907.pdf

  • Bretton Alexander, Director of Business Development and Strategy, Blue Origin

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-BAlexander-20170907_0.pdf

  • George Sowers, Professor, Space Resources, Colorado School of Mines

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY16-WState-GSowers-20170907.pdf

A statement of Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) on private sector lunar exploration is available here at:

https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/090677%20Babin%20-%20Lunar.pdf

The cost of propellant if shipped from earth (blue) or sourced in space (green).
Credit: ULA/Sowers

To watch the hearing video, go to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=nlKkwqGjGTc

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