Commercial space ventures hail NASA vision

Peregrine lander
An artist’s conception shows Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander on the moon. (Astrobotic Illustration)

The Trump administration’s proposed shift to commercial partners for space operations in low Earth orbit as well as on and around the moon is getting a predictably positive reception from those potential partners.

“This moment here, with the shift to the moon, is what we’ve waited 10 years for,” John Thornton, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, told Geekwire. Astrobotic has been working on a series of private-sector lunar landing missions and is now looking forward to heightened interest from NASA.

Over the next few years, hundreds of millions of dollars would be set aside for private-sector moon missions and for commercial ventures in low Earth orbit — either by putting private ventures in charge of the U.S. segment of the International Space Station, or by establishing new orbital platforms.

Not everyone is thrilled by the budget proposal, in part because it calls for phasing out federal funding for the space station by 2025. The critics include leading members of Congress who will have to fine-tune and approve the budget proposed today.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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