The American space agency, NASA, has been revealing its plans to take people back to the moon after such a long time and later on go back to the exploration of Mars. But it now looks like the state-owned organisation does not want to do this all alone as news has it that it is looking to team up with the private agencies that do space travel to develop the necessary technologies for the travel beyond this world.
As announced yesterday, the agency has selected 13 companies to partner with on 19 new specific technology projects that will help in the travel to the moon and Mars. Among this list is Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin that will together work on projects ranging from improving spacecraft operation in high temperatures to landing rockets vertically on the Moon.
This comes barely a year after the agency put out a call for proposals from the industry in October last year asking them to detail different technologies they’d like to develop through the program. The lucky ones that have now made the list will start receiving expertise and resources from various NASA centres to help mature these space technologies — at no cost to the companies themselves.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will work with NASA on developing a navigation system for “safe and precise landing at a range of locations on the Moon” in one undertaking, and also on readying a fuel cell-based power system for its Blue Moon lander, revealed earlier this year.
The final design spec will then be used to provide a source of power that can last through the lunar night, or up to two weeks without sunlight in some locations. It’ll also be working on further developing engine nozzles for rockets with a liquid propellant that would be well-suited for lunar lander vehicles.
On the other hand, SpaceX will be working on technologies necessary for the company’s future Starship rocket. The vessel is currently under development under SpaceX until it is ready to to take cargo and humans to deep space destinations.
With SpaceX being known to be really ambitious to travel to the moon, the company will be receiving support from NASA to perfectly nail how to land large space vehicles on the moon’s surface alongside learning how much dust from the moon such landings actually pick up.
With this being quite a long and complex journey, the Elon-led company will also be learning from NASA how to successfully transfer rocket propellants in space, something that will be vital in getting the Starship rocket away from the earth and more importantly, doing it safely.
Considering the growing tension that had been there between these organisations, anyone would be glad to hear of the positive move from NASA and the companies, let alone SpaceX or Blue Origin. With the joint efforts, the dream of successful space exploration might just be a reality and if all goes totally well, sooner than we expect. Fingers crossed!