NASA has selected a new lunar surface delivery partner, Masten Space Systems in Mojave, in its commercial lunar payload service, according tomedia.
It is understood that Masten is the fourth other than Astrobotic Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyong to secure a lunar delivery contract under CLPS, although Astrobotic and Intuitive Machines still intend to use their landers to carry payloads sometime next year, but Beyond has subsequently terminated the contract.
Like other contracts for the CLPS project, the new Masten contract is part of NASA’s Artemis program. NASA, for its part, has focused on public-private partnerships, such as those formed through the CLPS project, to help it achieve lunar and Mars missions and bring business benefits to them.
Masten’s contract, valued at $75.9 million, is understood to have specified end-to-end delivery of payloads and its integration with the company’s XL-1 lander. They are also required to land on the moon and run for at least 12 days after landing. The xl-1 will carry specific instruments including tools to measure and map the temperature of the lunar surface, as well as radiation, hydrogen and other gases that may indicate the presence of water.
The XL-1 lander, developed by Masten, is an improvement in the lander’s design, which won NASA’s 100-year-old Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X-Prize Challenge award in 2009. Masten also helped NASA develop a number of vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) rockets.