NASA has chosen four US small businesses to develop a range of technologies for sustainable exploration of the Moon under the Artemis programme.
The said programme aims to land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface in 2024.
NASA’s small business programme will award the companies with follow-on funds with an expected combined value of approximately $17 million, and will accelerate the development of lunar technologies relevant to Artemis.
The selected companies and technologies include Fibertek of Herndon, Virginia, which will advance optical communications technologies for small spacecraft around the Moon and beyond. The system could establish high bandwidth communications in the vicinity of the Moon to relay vast amounts of data from lunar landers to Earth.
Qualtech Systems of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, will mature autonomous systems capable of continuously monitoring and providing fault and health management for spacecraft such as Gateway, a future outpost around the Moon, whether there are astronauts aboard or not.
Another company selected by NASA is Pioneer Astronautics of Lakewood, Colorado, which will build and demonstrate hardware to produce oxygen and steel from lunar regolith, or soil.
Protoinnovations of Pittsburgh will advance traction control and improve the driving ability of robotic and crewed rovers in unknown and highly variable terrain on the Moon.