Washington: NASA has sought information from the scientific community and industry on small lunar payloads that could fly aboard commercial spacecraft to the moon as early as 2017.
“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate () is seeking information on the availability of small payloads that could be delivered to the Moon as early as the 2017-2020 timeframe using US commercial lunar cargo transportation service providers,” NASA wrote on its Request for Information on Tuesday.
It stated that multiple US companies are developing robotic lunar landing capabilities and have expressed plans to provide commercial cargo delivery services to the Moon in the near future.
“Information on lunar payloads that could be launched as early as 2017 would be valuable to NASA as it works to understand the potential role of the Moon in future exploration activities,” it stated.
Responses are sought broadly from US industry, universities and non-profit organisations, NASA Centers (including the Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and other US government agencies, and these will be used by NASA for planning and acquisition strategy development.