NASA is preparing for its first commercial robotic flight to the lunar surface under the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative. The agency will host a media teleconference on November 29th to discuss the science payloads that will be carried aboard Astrobotic Technologies’ Peregrine lander, which will launch on ULA’s Vulcan rocket. The liftoff is currently targeted for late December from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The Peregrine lunar lander is expected to touch down on the Moon in early 2024. Among the items on board, NASA payloads will investigate a range of scientific interests, including the lunar exosphere, thermal properties of the lunar regolith, hydrogen abundances in the soil, magnetic fields, and radiation environment monitoring. These experiments will contribute to our understanding of the Moon’s environment and pave the way for future human missions.
The CLPS initiative is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the lunar surface and ultimately send astronauts to Mars. Through partnerships with commercial vendors like Astrobotic, NASA plans to establish a regular cadence of payload deliveries to the Moon. This collaboration will enable experiments, technology demonstrations, and capability testing necessary for successful lunar exploration.
Task orders for payload deliveries under the CLPS contracts have a cumulative maximum value of $2.6 billion through 2028. The indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts ensure continued collaboration with multiple vendors to meet NASA’s lunar exploration goals.
If you’re interested in following the progress of the Artemis program and other updates from NASA, you can find more information on their official blog at https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis/.
1. What is the CLPS initiative?
The CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative is a NASA program that aims to establish partnerships with commercial vendors to deliver payloads to the lunar surface. It enables regular payload deliveries for experiments, technology demonstrations, and capability testing.
2. What are the goals of the Artemis program?
The Artemis program is NASA’s initiative to return humans to the Moon and eventually send astronauts to Mars. It involves scientific research, technology development, and human exploration to expand our knowledge of space and pave the way for future missions.
3. How will the Peregrine lander reach the Moon?
The Peregrine lander will launch aboard ULA’s Vulcan rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. It is scheduled to touch down on the lunar surface in early 2024.
4. What kind of experiments will be conducted by NASA payloads?
NASA payloads on the Peregrine lander will investigate various aspects of the Moon’s environment, including the lunar exosphere, thermal properties of the lunar regolith, hydrogen abundances in the soil, magnetic fields, and radiation environment monitoring.
5. How much funding is allocated for payload deliveries under the CLPS contracts?
The CLPS contracts have a cumulative maximum value of $2.6 billion through 2028. This funding will support ongoing collaboration with multiple vendors to ensure a steady flow of payload deliveries to the Moon.