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The first American spacecraft expected to land on the moon in nearly 50 years will be a robotic moon lander built by closely held Astrobotic Technology Inc and launched in two years by United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket, the companies told Reuters on Monday.
Astrobotic was one of nine companies chosen in November to compete for $2.6 billion to develop small space vehicles and other technology for 20 missions to explore the lunar surface over the next decade.
Astrobotic - Vulcan - Venture - Boeing - Co
Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic picked Vulcan, being developed by a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp , to launch its Peregrine lander from Florida's Cape Canaveral in summer 2021.
Barring schedule slips, Astrobotic said Peregrine would be the first American spacecraft to touch down on the moon since Apollo astronauts touched down in 1972.
Mission - Technology - Experiments - Moon - NASA
The mission will ferry technology and experiments to the moon under a NASA program that will lay the groundwork for astronaut trips by 2024 under the optimistic schedule laid out by the Trump administration.
'Our first flight on Vulcan is also the first big step in going back to the moon,' United Launch Alliance Chief Executive Tory Bruno told Reuters ahead of the announcement.
Astrobotic - May - NASA - Mission - Payloads
Astrobotic said in May that NASA awarded it $79.5 million for the first mission, which will carry up to 28 payloads from eight different countries, including the United States and Mexico.
While the dollar value of the launch contract was not disclosed, it marks a high-profile victory for ULA's flagship heavy-lift rocket, which Astrobotic said it chose over a rival bid by billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX.
NASA - Design - Development
NASA is pushing to outsource the design, development and...
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