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Moon, and then onto Mars.

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Space Exploration.
Vision for Space Exploration.

NASA has awarded the first contracts for aerospace firms to begin preliminary concept studies for returning humans to the Moon, and then onto Mars. A total of $27 million USD was awarded to eleven companies to work on concepts for human lunar exploration and the crew exploration vehicle; there is also an option for an additional $27 million. The contracts will give the companies six months to work on their ideas, and then the additional six-month options may be exercised depending on the quality of the work.

NASA today awarded the first contracts to conduct preliminary concept studies for human lunar exploration and the development of the crew exploration vehicle. Eleven companies were selected.

NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Associate Administrator retired Navy Rear Adm. Craig E. Steidle, said, "These study contracts reflect NASA's new commitment to find the best outside expertise that will work in partnerships to benefit the nation's goals for space exploration. We are developing a sustained and affordable human and robotic program that will explore the solar system and beyond. We will accomplish this using the same ingenuity, commitment and unwavering determination that forged the success of the Apollo program."

The contracts, which total approximately $27 million, with a possible option worth an additional $27 million, are a result of the Concept Exploration and Refinement Broad Agency Announcement issued in May 2004.

The contracts will be awarded initiating a six-month base period, with a six-month option that may be exercised at the government's discretion. Options may be exercised based on several factors, including the quality of performance during the base period, fiscal constraints and overall support to the Vision for Space Exploration. The Vision for Space exploration gives NASA a new focus for a sustained and affordable human and robotic Space exploration program to explore the solar system and beyond.

The contracts are in two categories or concept areas. The first area is preliminary concepts for human lunar exploration. The selected companies for "concept 1" and the value of their contracts are:

Raytheon, Tucson, Ariz. - Base: $994,157; Option: $998,529

SAIC, Houston - Base: $996,616; Option: $998,539

SpaceHAB Corp., Webster, Texas - Base: $995,603; Option: $998,907

The second category consists of preliminary concepts for the crew exploration vehicle and human lunar exploration. The selected companies for "concept 2" and the value of their contracts are:

Andrews Space Inc., Seattle - Base: $2,999,988; Option: $2,999,941

Draper Labs, Cambridge, Mass. - Base: $2,988,083; Option: $2,945,357

Lockheed Martin Corp., Denver - Base: $2,999,742; Option: $2,999,920

Northrop Grumman Corp., El Segundo, Calif. - Base: $2,958,753; Option: $2,999,473

Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va. - Base: $2,998,952; Option: $2,994,259

Schafer, Chelmsford, Mass. - Base: $2,999,179; Option: $2,997,804

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, Calif. - Base: $2,998,203; Option: $2,998,346

t-Space, Menlo Park, Calif. - Base: $2,999,732; Option: $2,939,357

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