The first moon lander which NASA will use in the 21st century would be designed and engineered by private aerospace company Team Indus as part of the Orbit Beyond consortium which has been awarded a contract for the 2021 lunar mission, Quartz has reported.
NASA in total would spend around $250 million to award contracts to private companies for transporting scientific missions to the moon which include - Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond. This initiative is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.
Orbit Beyond comprises of a total of nine companies one of which is Team Indus which was formed in 2010 to take part in Google’s Lunar XPrize which involved sending a robot to the moon. This team would be responsible for designing the lander.
“When I say we are buying a ride, that’s literally what we are doing,” said Steve Clark, who leads NASA’s exploration programs. He added that the private companies would be responsible for both launching and landing the moon lander.
Update: This article has been edited after Team Indus reached out to us to clarify that they would be handling the design and engineering of the lander, which will ultimately be manufactured in the US