The National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected nine space companies on Thursday to compete for $2.6 billion in contracts developing technologies to reach and explore the moon.
NASA picked Lockheed Martin, Astrobotic, Firefly Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express, Draper, Intuitive Machines, Deep Space Systems and Orbit Beyond. The agency narrowed the field down to those nine, after receiving interest from more than 30 companies, including SpaceX, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada Corp.
"We're doing something that's never been done before," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at the agency's announcement on Thursday afternoon. "When we go to the moon, we want to be one customer of many customers in a robust marketplace between the Earth and the moon."