Moon Rush: NASA Wants Commercial Lunar Delivery Services to Start This Year

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NASA is eager to get back to the surface of the moon.

In November, the agency tagged nine American companies as eligible to bid on delivering robotic NASA payloads to the moon, via Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts. Thursday (Feb. 14), NASA officials announced that the first "task order" for such a delivery will likely come out in a month or so — and that flight is expected to follow in relatively short order.

"For us, if we had any wish, I would like to fly this calendar year," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said during a webcast "media roundtable" at agency headquarters in Washington. [21 Most Marvelous Moon Missions of All Time]

"We care about speed. We want to start taking shots on goal," Zurbuchen said, noting that NASA will provide the eligible companies with financial incentives to get off the ground faster. 

NASA is willing to take some ris
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