With its plan of landing American astronauts once again on the Moon by 2024, NASA is asking U.S. companies to deliver goods, scientific experiments, and supplies to the Gateway in support of its Artemis lunar missions.
The way NASA is asking the companies is through its Request for Proposals platform.
The selected company would be delivering a logistics spacecraft with both pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the Gateway over a period of six months.
The logistics spacecraft is required to launch off from a commercial rocket.
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Why is NASA asking 'regular' American companies for assistance?
"Working with industry to deliver supplies necessary to support our lunar missions is a critical step to accelerate our return to the Moon under the Artemis program including meeting that bold goal to land the next American astronauts on the Moon by 2024," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
In order to speed up the return to the Moon, NASA is branching out, and not simply sticking with its own agency. In doing so, they're making the requirements for the industry to be a little more relaxed.
What is NASA looking for in these proposals?
The responders should focus on logistics spacecraft design, cargo mass capability, pressurized volume, power availability for payloads, and transit time to the Gateway.
"We chose to minimize spacecraft requirements on industry to allow for commercial innovation, but we are asking industry to propose their best solutions for delivering cargo and enabling our deep space supply chain," said Mark Wiese, NASA’s Gateway logistics element manager at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Wiese continued, "In addition to delivering cargo, science and other supplies with these services, private industry also has the opportunity to deliver other elements of our lunar architecture with this solicitation."
What's in it for the companies?
If awarded the task, the company will have a firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for 15 years, and a maximum $7 billion value.
We are going to the Moon — to stay.
Our #Artemis program will lay the groundwork for a sustainable infrastructure to support missions to Mars and beyond. This is what we’re building. This is what we’re training for. We are going.
Explore: https://t.co/Uk5tVT4xC9pic.twitter.com/98tl1PQQa0— NASA (@NASA) August 19, 2019
Furthermore, the guaranteed minimum value is two missions.