NASA has issued delivery orders to three companies as part of its Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) project. Each order is worth $500,000 and will help develop vehicle capabilities and demonstrate end-to-end robotic lunar landing missions. The three private sector firms are: Astrobotic Technology Inc., Pittsburgh, PA., Dynetics Inc., Huntsville, Ala. and Moon Express Inc., San Francisco, Calif.
The ILDD contracts also provide for issuing subsequent delivery orders that will specify data associated with system testing and integration, launch, in-space maneuvers, braking burns, lunar landing and other enhanced capabilities. Knowledge acquired from this data will be applied to the development of lander systems necessary to execute human and robotic missions to the moon, near-Earth asteroids or other solar system destinations.
“NASA is going to be a strong a leader in Moon 2.0, just as it was in the famous Moon race of the 1960s. But this time, NASA will show leadership by partnering with international partners and especially with commercial enterprises, in addition to conducting its own missions,” noted William Pomerantz, the Senior Director of Space Prizes at the X PRIZE Foundation. “Today’s contract announcements show how Google Lunar X PRIZE teams and space agencies are already forging mutually beneficial ties that will allow us to visit the Moon sooner and stay for longer.”
Three other Google Lunar X PRIZE teams have previously been selected for participation in the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) program: FREDNET of Huntsville, AL; Next Giant Leap (through their team member The Charles Strake Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, MA), and Omega Envoy (through their team member Earthrise Space Inc.) of Orlando, FL. All six ILDD participants are able to submit proposals to claim the various contracts still available through the program, with each individual team able to earn as much as $10 million.