NASA has announced it awarded a contract to Masten Space Systems to deliver and operate eight payloads with nine science and technology instruments to the Moon´s South Pole in 2022, to help lay the foundation for human expeditions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024, the company said.
The payloads, which include instruments to assess the composition of the lunar surface, test precision landing technologies, and evaluate the radiation on the Moon, are being delivered under NASA´s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative as part of the agency´s Artemis program.
The USD 75.9m award includes end-to-end services for delivery of the instruments, including payload integration, launch from Earth, landing on the Moon´s surface, and operation for at least 12 days. Masten Space Systems will land these payloads on the Moon with its XL-1 lander.
In addition to this delivery, and additional payload for a fifth lunar delivery is in development, and NASA will soon be initiating a new series of payload acquisitions for targeted science investigations for years to come.