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NASA picks its first companies for moon deliveries

Lunar lander
An artist’s conception shows a lunar lander with scientific payloads. (NASA Illustration)

NASA has chosen three commercial ventures that haven’t yet launched anything into space to deliver science experiments to the moon’s surface, starting next year.

Today’s awards are the first to be announced under the terms of the space agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, or CLPS, which draws from a “catalog” of flight opportunities offered by nine commercial teams.

Each team proposed flying specific payloads to the moon, and this summer NASA will determine which experiments will be delivered by which teams. The potential payloads focus on subjects ranging from basic lunar science to precision navigation and solar power generation.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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