NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient Jim Bridenstine said the private sector may reach the moon ahead of the agency’s plan to return astronauts to the lunar surface over the next five years, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. He expects commercial missions to make successful landings before the government’s target schedule for 2024.
Companies would demonstrate landers and other capabilities on the moon to secure competitive advantage as NASA aims to use commercial services to support the lunar mission, Bridenstine said at the 2019 Paris Air Show. “We’re seeing a resurgence of interest in the moon… like we’ve never seen before,” the official said.
NASA plans to provide up to $30 billion over the next five years for the moon mission. SpaceX and Blue Origin expressed interest in investing in lunar exploration and in competing for contracts from the space agency.