NASA said it will decide exactly which experiments to send on the landers by the end of summer 2019.
Lego unveiled a new 1,087-piece Lego Creator Expert NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander kit on Thursday. An initial competition to develop small moon landers was announced in November 2018.
NASA also announced that OrbitBeyond has proposed flying as many as four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a lava plain in one of the Moon's craters, by September 2020. "All the previous activities on the moon have been funded by superpowers", Astrobotic CEO John Thornton told us past year. "It's been nearly 50 years since we've been back as a country".
The companies and contract amounts are Astrobotic, of Pittsburgh, Pa., $79.5 million; Intuitive Machines, of Houston, Texas, $77 million; and OrbitBeyond, of Edison, N.J., $97 million.
Intuitive Machine's Nova-C lunar lander. But for those times when you're not procrastinating at work, the set also serves as a desk-friendly collectible allowing you to perch and display the lunar lander on an included replica of the moon's surface - complete with craters, footprints, and a USA flag. Astrobotic's executives said they are still evaluating launch providers.
'Investing in these commercial landing services also is another strong step to build a commercial space economy beyond low-Earth orbit'. "It's going to be a truly exciting journey".
The Z-01 lander designed by Orbit Beyond. "Orbit Beyond's vision is to be a key player in the in-space ecosystem".
Companies and organizations have partnered with the Astrobotic to send to the moon scientific equipment, messages from children around the world, mementos, time capsules, educations materials, rovers and a digital copy of the entire Wikipedia.
"These three companies showed what I would call credible technical plans, well thought out, with schedule and costs commensurate with their plans, and they identified the risks along the way", he said.
"We have been champions of the awe and wonder of space exploration through playful building for nearly as long as the world's celebration of the first moon landing", said Michael McNally, senior director of brand relations for Lego Systems.