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NASA chooses companies to create moon landers

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Lego, NASA launch 1,087-piece Apollo 11 lunar lander set

According to Zurbuchen, each of the three landers will carry "NASA-provider payloads" that will demonstrate advanced technologies and conduct scientific experiments.

Astrobotic Technology Inc., founded a decade ago out of Carnegie Mellon University and headquartered at 25th and Liberty in the Strip District, will deliver 14 payloads under the NASA contract.

Two of the companies, Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond, plan to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, while Astrobiotic has yet to decide which launch company it will use.

During the NASA press conference Friday, OrbitBeyond CEO Siba Padhi said the company's lander would be on the moon by September 27, 2020.

The company said it is expanding its Pittsburgh operations, adding dozens of jobs. "All the previous activities on the moon have been funded by superpowers", Astrobotic CEO John Thornton told us past year. "Really Cool" Lego Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Coming soon on June 1, Lego's version of the NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander will sell for $99.99.

Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond are the lucky winners.

Aside from the decent and ascent stages, Lego included the "moon base" phase, which has craters, a nameplate, footprints, and a section for a flag. The robotic craft is much smaller than the landers that carried Apollo astronauts. "What we learn will not only change our view of the universe, but also prepare our human missions to the Moon and eventually Mars".

Intuitive Machines of Houston has been awarded $77 million. That money will be used to help the group fly up to four payloads to Mare Imbrium, a "lava plain" in a Moon crater. Indeed, NASA has just chosen its first three commercial partners for the "Artemis" Moon return program.

Orbit Beyond's Z-01 lander can deliver about 88 pounds of payload to the surface, provide 50 watts of power and land within about a half mile of its target on slopes up to 18 degrees. "Orbit Beyond's vision is to become a key player in the in-space ecosystem".

Younger Lego aficionados and those who aren't up to the Expert Creator challenge can look to a new series of space-themed Lego City Mars exploration sets coming out in June.

"These three companies showed what I would call credible technical plans, well thought out, with schedule and costs commensurate with their plans, and they identified the risks along the way", he said.

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