WASHINGTON – Entrepreneurs and international government agencies will play important roles in NASA’s future lunar exploration, according to speakers at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress here.
While previous lunar campaigns were directed and funded by the U.S. government, future missions will involve many private companies and international partners, said Ryan Whitley, National Space Council civil space policy director.
Through public-private partnerships, NASA intends to buy transportation for astronauts traveling to the International Space Station as well as astronauts traveling to the lunar surface.
“Public-private partnerships are essential to what we are trying to do,” said Margaret Kieffer, NASA Export Control and Interagency Liaison Division director. “Entrepreneurs see the advantage and the economic benefit of putting their own skin in the game.”
Public-private partnerships also benefit the U.S. government, “because we know that giving companies a chance to innovate and compete with one another will bring the best out of everyone,” said Kevin O’Connell, director of the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce. “It doesn’t mean we give up on safety and the standards we apply.”
By investing in industry partners, the government is taking steps toward reducing the cost of space missions and helping companies establish a robust space economy, ...