NASA has announced nine companies that are eligible to bid on its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts.
The nine listed businesses will be able to bid on delivering science and technology payloads for NASA, which includes payload integration and operations, launching from Earth and landing on the surface of the moon.
The selected companies are:
NASA said it expects "to be one of many customers that will use these commercial landing services".
The CLPS contracts are "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" contracts with a combined maximum value of $2.6 billion over the next decade.
NASA said it will consider a number of factors when comparing bids, "such as technical feasibility, price and schedule".
The agency also said it "may offer additional companies an opportunity to join Commercial Lunar Payload Services through a contract process called on-ramping", and that the missions could be flown as early as 2019.
NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) initiated the request for proposals as the "first step in achieving a variety of science and technology objectives that could be addressed by regularly sending instruments, experiments and other small payloads to the moon".
SMD helps NASA, along with other stakeholders, to develop a strategy to enable an integrated approach for robotic and human exploration in NASA's Moon to Mars Exploration Campaign.
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