Revised Senate bill directs NASA to decide on another HLS firm

A revision to a Senate bill would need NASA to decide on another corporation for its Human Lander System program, a condition some concern could upend the total attempt. This is in order to send back humans to the moon as soon as 2024.

The Senate Commerce Committee permits a markup meeting on May 12. A NASA authorization bill as a revision to the Endless Frontier Act. A bill that would create a new technology board for the National Science Foundation. The change was one of the lots deemed by the committee through the session, which eventually passes the bill on a 24–4 vote.

The revision, known as the Space Preservation and Conjunction Emergency (SPACE) Act of 2021, is a description of a like bill the Senate thought of in 2020 but was not passed. As the name indicates, it tackles concerns linked with space traffic management, involving supervising the Office of Space Commerce. This is in order to manage civil space traffic management obligations.

The revision, though, also comprises a NASA approval for the fiscal year 2021 parallel to one the Senate passed at the completion of 2020. A new requirement in that revision includes “competitiveness within the Human Landing System curriculum.” NASA plans to fund the growth of crewed lunar landers. NASA gave a single HLS “Option A” deal to SpaceX on April 16 worth $2.89 billion. This is in order to build a lander built on the company’s Starship vehicle and to fly a solo exhibition operation.

The revision instructs NASA to fund the growth of “not less than 2 units” in the HLS plan no later than 30 days after the bill is passed. It would approve a total of $10.032 billion for the curriculum, even though financing would have to be taken individually, and on a yearly basis.

NASA starts to plan for follow-on service deals, known as Lunar Exploration Transportation Services (LETS). NASA made an appeal for data on April 28, requesting an opinion on a planned broad organization statement. It states that NASA intends to issue this summer prior to the complete LETS procurement.

That broad agency statement, known as Appendix N of the NextSTEP plan, would boost early risk reduction efforts. This is for the next LETS procurement. NextSTEP’s full form – Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships. On a May 3 trade day, Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA HLS program manager, says that the agency expects to publish a formal request. This is for propositions in June and makes choices in the middle of August and October.

The subsequent LETS award might consist of some financing for the following:

  • Design
  • Development
  • Testing and evaluation work

Although specific details remain uncertain, Watson-Morgan says. The deals would include at least six operations commencing in the late 2020s, she adds. This is with at least two assignments per contractor.

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