The National Space Society (NSS) congratulates NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine for naming Mike Gold his “special advisor” on November 16. NASA reports that Gold will be providing advice to Bridenstine on a range of topics, with a special focus on expanding commercialization in low-Earth orbit, cislunar space, and beyond. Related to the commercialization aspect of the Gold appointment, on November 18 NASA added five American companies to the pool of venders eligible to bid on proposals to provide deliveries to the surface of the Moon through the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). See www.nasa.gov/content/commercial-lunar-payload-services.
Blue Origin, Ceres Robotics, Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX, and Tyvak increase the list of CLPS participants on contract to 14, expanding NASA’s capacity to deliver payloads (including large ones) to the Moon, as well as facilitating the arrival of human presence on the Moon by the end of 2024 as part of NASA’s Artemis program. On the heels of the Gold appointment and CLPS expansion, NSS published a policy position paper that specifically endorses CLPS and other parts of the Artemis program NSS believes are most likely to lead to a timely and sustainable human presence on the Moon. See space.nss.org/nss-position-paper-the-artemis-moon-program.