Washington: With its eyes set on returning humans to the moon, NASA is inviting US-based companies to help design and develop lunar landers, reusable systems for astronauts to land on the earth's natural satellite.
"We want to get started as quickly as possible. We are inviting industry and other potential partners to meet with us next week at NASA headquarters to discuss human lunar landers," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in an op-ed at news site OZY.com on Friday.
The US space agency is planning to test new human-class landers on the moon, beginning 2024, with the goal of sending a crew to it 2028.
Through multi-phased lunar exploration partnerships, NASA is asking American companies to study the best approach to landing astronauts on the moon and start the development as quickly as possible with current and future anticipated technologies.
"Building on our model in low-Earth orbit, we'll expand our partnerships with industry and other nations to explore the moon and advance our missions to farther destinations such as Mars, with America leading the way," Bridenstine said in a statement.
"When we send astronauts to the moon in the next decade, it will be in a sustainable fashion," he said.