Billionaire Jeff Bezos‘ aerospace company Blue Origin was one among the 11 companies chosen by NASA on Tuesday to develop technologies that could support long-term exploration of the Moon and space.
The 11 companies and their respective projects were chosen under NASA’s sixth tipping point opportunity. The space agency identifies a particular technology as a tipping point if an investment will significantly mature the technology for future application.
As part of the selection, Blue Origin was awarded $34.7 million to advance its Blue Alchemist technology — a proposed commercial solution that produces solar cells from the dust and crushed rock on the surface of the moon.
“The breakthrough (technology) would bootstrap unlimited electricity and power transmission cable anywhere on the surface of the Moon,” the company said in a statement.
Other companies whose projects were chosen to be funded by NASA include Astrobotic Technology, Big Metal Additive, Freedom Photonics, Lockheed Martin, Redwire, Protoinnovations, Psionic, United Launch Alliance, Varda Space Industries, and Zeno Power Systems.
NASA expects these technologies to enable a sustained human presence on the Moon through Artemis and other missions by providing the different infrastructure required. Five of the chosen projects cater to purely enabling Moon exploration while the remaining six cater to other areas of space exploration
The agency’s total estimated contribution to these partnerships is $150 million.
Astrobotic, a company that plans to send a lander to the moon in the forth quarter of this year, was awarded $34 million to demonstrate new power and transmission of the lunar surface.
“LunaGrid-Lite will pave the way for power generation and distribution services on the Moon, and change the game for lunar surface systems like landers, rovers, habitats, science suits, and in-situ resource utilization pilot plants,” said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton in a statement. “With renewable, uninterrupted commercial power service, both crewed, and robotic operations can be made sustainable for long-term operations.”
Produced in association with Benzinga