NASA has awarded a $73 million contract to Draper of Cambridge, Massachusetts to deliver Artemis science investigations to the far side of the Moon in 2025.
American space agency NASA has picked Draper, an engineering company, to deliver its Artemis science investigations to the far side of the Moon in 2025.
This commercial delivery mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative under Artemis. As per the contract, Draper will be responsible for end-to-end delivery services, including payload integration, delivery from Earth to the surface of the Moon, and payload operations and will get $73 million for the job.
This is the eighth surface delivery task award issued to a Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) vendor by NASA.
The experiments flying on Draper’s SERIES-2 lander and will be headed to Schrödinger Basin, a large lunar impact crater on the far side of the Moon, close to the lunar South Pole. The geological site is about 200 miles in diameter.
“The payload delivery location is a first for us. Operations from the far side of the Moon will help improve how we track activities from this location to address scientific goals,” said Chris Culbert, CLPS program manager at NASA in a press release.
Two of the investigations selected for this flight are part of NASA’s PRISM program. Draper will deliver three investigations. The new data collected from these investigations could help scientists better understand tectonic activity on this region of the Moon and reveal how often the lunar far side is impacted by small meteorites. It will also provide new information on the internal structure of the Moon.
Through Artemis, NASA also aims to land the first woman and the first person of colour on the Moon. This will be a stepping stone for future missions to Mars as well. Artemis I is scheduled to launch around August 29, 2022, with a subsequent test flight with a crew scheduled to launch in 2024. NASA has said that humans will be sent to the surface of the Moon no earlier than 2025.
(Edited by : Dipti Sharma)