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NASA seeks ideas from US firms on future lunar lander

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US space agency NASA on Monday asked American aerospace companies to offer detailed ideas for vehicles that could bring two astronauts to the Moon by 2024, an American objective that was reconfirmed on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

NASA called the request for input a “major step” forward for its new Moon mission, dubbed Artemis — who in Greek mythology was Apollo’s twin sister.

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The space agency published documents explaining in detail what it is looking for in a lunar lander that will bring the two astronauts, one a woman, to the Moon’s South Pole, where they will stay for six and a half days.

In May, 11 companies including sector mainstays Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were picked to lead feasibility studies and develop prototypes by November. Also on the list were newcomers such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

That same month, Blue Origin unveiled its lander project, Blue Moon.

Now, NASA has provided dozens of pages of specifications that must be met in terms of onboard electronics, communications, and spacesuits.

Any company can reply, not just the 11 shortlisted earlier in the year.

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“On the heels of the 50th Anniversary of #Apollo11, we’ve just issued a draft solicitation asking US companies to help us develop the 21st century human landing system that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine tweeted.

“WE ARE GOING.”

After receiving the responses, NASA is expected to make a decision in a matter of months as to which company will build the lander and how.

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It will be the equivalent of the lunar module that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon in 1969.

One important difference will be that the lander will berth at a mini Moon-orbiting space station, called Gateway, as a kind of port between the Earth and the Moon. That will allow for the lander to be reused and refueled.

For now, the Artemis mission is behind schedule, mainly due to delays in the construction of the huge, single-use Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is primarily being made by Boeing.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump’s old NBC boss pitches $60 million plan to use mass surveillance to predict potential mass shooters

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President Donald Trump's old boss at NBC has briefed him on a surveillance program intended to identify potential mass shooters.

The proposal is part of a larger effort to establish a new agency called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency, or HARPA, modeled after the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, reported the Washington Post.

The proposed agency would be part of the Health and Human Services Department, and its director would be appointed by the president and have a separate budget, according to three sources with knowledge of discussions around the plan.

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‘Archie Bunker is in the Oval Office’ flailing around searching for a fight: columnist

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President Donald Trump's doctrine of global policy is ambiguous at best and erratic at worst, a Daily Beast reporter pointed out in a Thursday morning piece.

Thus far, the president's dogma has been a hodge-podge of assumptions and ambiguity that changes depending on the feud of choice he has waged on any given day. The only consistency is Trump's unfaltering support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his loyalty to Benjamin Netanyahu. Outside of that, the Trump doctrine seems to be based on the ill-informed whims of a president who conducts foreign policy based on near-daily squabbles.

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Pentagon chief confirms death of Al-Qaeda’s Hamza bin Laden

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US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has confirmed the death of Hamza Bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

"That's my understanding," Esper said in an interview late Wednesday with Fox News, when asked if Hamza bin Laden was dead.

"I don't have the details on that. And if I did I'm not sure how much I could share with you," he added.

US media reported at the beginning of August that bin Laden was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the United States, citing US intelligence officials.

But President Donald Trump and other senior officials have refused to confirm or deny it publicly.

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