- Three US companies have been selected.
- Russia will not be one of the partner nations.
- The Moon landing is scheduled for 2024.
NASA presented the basic principles on which the proposed international agreement on the development of the moon will be based, to which the US plans to involve a number of partner States. The announcement came via Twitter by the Director of the US Space Agency, James Bridenstine.
The “Artemis agreements”, named after the American lunar program Artemis, will be a series of bilateral agreements between the United States and partner nations, including International space agencies. It is emphasized that the principles of the 1967 outer space Treaty will be largely taken as the basis, and the goal will be to create a safe and transparent environment that will facilitate research and scientific activity.
NASA has selected three US companies to design and develop human landing systems (HLS) for the agency’s Artemis program, one of which will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024. NASA is on track for sustainable human exploration of the Moon for the first time in history.
The following companies were selected to design and build human landing systems:
- Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, is developing the Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) – a three-stage lander to be launched on its own New Glenn Rocket System and ULA Vulcan launch system.
- Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, is developing the Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) – a single structure providing the ascent and descent capabilities that will launch on the ULA Vulcan launch system.
- SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is developing the Starship – a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket.
Among the main principles of the proposed agreement, presented on the NASA website, are provisions for the extraction of resources on the moon and the idea of creating so-called security zones that should prevent “malicious interference”.
The agreement writers are convinced that an important principle of lunar exploration should be the desire to avoid malicious interference. NASA and partner countries will provide open information about the location and general nature of operations, which will help determine the scope and scale of the “safety zones”. The exchange of notifications and coordination between partner countries in order to adhere to such security zones will prevent malicious interference.
The agreements will require participants to conduct all activities for peaceful purposes. Countries will have to communicate their policies and plans openly and transparently. Participants will commit to publish their scientific data so that the entire world can benefit from the research and discoveries made during the Artemis program.
The parties to the agreement will also strive to use available international standards and develop new standards if necessary to maintain compatibility of the technical systems used. NASA and partner countries will commit to taking all reasonable steps to assist astronauts in distress. Russia will not be one of the partner nations.
NASA published a report in April pertaining to the Space Exploration Agenda. The report included ambitious plans to build a space colony and moon landing by 2024.
This is expected to be an exciting decade of Moon exploration and colonization.