NASA will unveil the latest private landing companies for trips to the moon today (November 18) and you can watch the announcement live online.
At 4:30 PM EST (2030 GMT), NASA will announce to them the latest US companies to join the agency's Commercial Lunar payload project or CLPS for private landing moons. The new companies will join a select pool of US companies vying for NASA moon landing contracts as part of the agency's Artemis program, which aims to bring back NASA astronauts by 2024.
NASA will broadcast its teleconference message to the network, which you can watch live from Space.com here, with the courtesy of NASA. You can also watch the live teleconference on the NASA website.
Steve Clark, NASA's Assistant Research Administrator, will speak during today's announcement. He will be joined by CLPS Project Manager Chris Culbert of the Johnson Space Center and representatives of the newly elected companies.
Today's announcement follows NASA's choice of three companies – Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond – to build commercial robotic lunar land for future missions. Since then, Orbit Beyond has dropped out of the program and NASA has opened a new phase of the CLPS project for companies.
In November 2018, NASA also announced the selection of nine companies to join the CLPS pool. These companies, like the ones announced today, will bid on moon landing contracts.
"In July, NASA announced the possibility for US companies to join the CLPS contract for delivering larger, heavier payloads to the lunar surface," NASA officials said in a statement. "The newly elected companies, along with the original nine selected in November 2018, will all have the right to bid for future lunar delivery services, including orders for higher payload tasks as well as the integration of payloads and operations."
"Investigations and demonstrations launched on CLPS flights will help NASA explore the moon as it prepares to send its first woman and next man to the moon by 2024 through the agency's Artemis program, with possible human missions to Mars, "agency officials added.