Pittsburgh, PA - Astrobotic applauds the President’s FY 2019 Budget Request for NASA released today, which seeks to ensure American leadership around and on the Moon with a Lunar Exploration Campaign. The United States was the first to land astronauts on the Moon, and our country will once again lead with this robust program of exploration by NASA and its industry partners. The FY19 Budget Request clearly establishes the Moon as the next key domain in U.S. exploration, and Astrobotic stands ready to support the nation in this historic campaign to return to the Moon. Astrobotic is excited by today’s request for $200 million in funding to jump start scientific and lunar resource characterization efforts with small landers. Astrobotic is also encouraged that the request includes an annual lunar mission cadence.
Astrobotic has been working closely with NASA for the last three years under the Lunar CATALYST program, as we prepare our Peregrine Lunar Lander for its first mission to the Moon in 2020 on ULA’s Atlas V – the only lunar mission launching on an American rocket from American soil. This highly successful public-private partnership has provided NASA deep insight into our lander program, as well as our payload delivery service. Astrobotic is highly encouraged by the budget released today, as it builds on the progress of CATALYST and funds an already planned purchase of payload space on small robotic landers through today’s announced Small Commercial Lander Initiative. This initiative aligns with Astrobotic’s planned cadence of missions throughout the 2020s, and recognizes that small lander services will be America’s first opportunity to return to the lunar surface. Moreover, Astrobotic is encouraged by the proposed Mid Sized Commercial Lander Initiative with capacity up to 1,000 kilograms, which is in line with our planned evolution of lunar capability.
“As a small start-up company in the heart of America’s Rust Belt, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander has been developed almost exclusively with private capital. We lead the world in commercial lunar payload sales and we know firsthand that there is robust diverse demand for future Moon missions. NASA’s proposed Lunar Exploration Campaign is precisely the kind of collaboration that builds on this progress, just as we recommended to the House Science Committee during a hearing in September 2017,” said Astrobotic CEO, John Thornton.
Congress has already demonstrated its strong, bipartisan support for using small robotic lunar landers by including funding in the House FY 2018 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act providing $30 million for small robotic lander demonstration opportunities. Members of Congress in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle have advocated for this funding throughout the FY18 appropriations process and today’s budget request underscores the exciting lunar opportunities with the resources provided in the final FY18 Omnibus and in the FY19 appropriations bills.
In addition to the Lunar Exploration Campaign, Astrobotic is also highly supportive of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway included in today’s FY19 budget as CEO John Thornton highlighted in an October op-ed. The Gateway working in concert with small robotic landers on the surface would create the first infrastructure on and around the Moon, and ensure that America’s return to the Moon is permanent and sustainable. These elements, along with NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Systems SLS and Orion, will enable NASA and the private sector to open a new era for American space leadership.
With this FY19 budget request, Astrobotic looks forward to growing our already strong relationship with NASA, and returning America to the Moon with a sustainable, long-term presence that starts with robotic landers in 2020. Astrobotic is highly encouraged by the administration’s budget and looks forward to working with Congress as it considers this proposal and throughout the upcoming appropriations process.
Astrobotic Technology Inc. is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals. The company’s spacecraft accommodates multiple customer payloads on a single flight, offering flexibility at an industry-defining low price of $1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic is an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST program, has 23 prior and ongoing NASA contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, a corporate sponsorship with DHL, 11 deals for its first mission to the Moon, and 110 customer payloads in the pipeline for upcoming missions. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.