Firefly Aerospace to Support NASA’s Lunar Basin Investigations
Work under the contract will support investigations of Mare Crisium, a cape-like basin on the Moon's near side. The investigations will help prepare for future human missions, NASA said Thursday.
Firefly will provide the lunar delivery service using its Blue Ghost lander, which was designed and developed at the facility in Cedar Park, Texas. The facility will also serve as Firefly's mission operations center for the 2023 delivery.
The payloads will include lunar retroreflectors, an X-ray imager, a radio-tolerant computer system, tools for subsurface thermal exploration and stereo cameras for lunar plume surface studies, among others.
NASA awarded the contract under its Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, through which the agency works with several American companies to deliver science and technology to the lunar surface.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Firefly is a private aerospace company that develops small and medium-sized for commercial launches to orbit.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters, said the CLPS initiative is aimed at advancing science and technology development through a service-based model.
“This allows U.S. vendors to not only demonstrate their ability to safely deliver payloads to our celestial neighbor, but also expand this capability for others who want to take advantage of this cutting edge approach to explore the Moon,” Zurbuchen added.
NASA said the CLPS initiative is a key part of its Artemis lunar exploration efforts. The success of the initiative would help establish the foundation for human missions and sustainable presence on the lunar surface, NASA added.
Tags: Blue Ghost Cedar Park CLPS Commercial Lunar Payload Services Firefly Aerospace Mare Crisium NASA space Texas Thomas Zurbuchen