According to an intellectual contract signed Tuesday between Firefly Aerospace, Inc. and Israel Aerospace Industries, an American aerospace firm hopes to construct the next Beresheet spacecraft under the name “Genesis.”
The agreement will permit Firefly to compete with other U.S. companies developing commercial lunar landers to deliver science instruments and other payloads to the lunar surface. Firefly is one of nine companies NASA selected last year to compete for contracts to carry research payloads to the moon through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services, or CLPS, program.
Firefly officials said the commercial lander will be based on the design of the Beresheet spacecraft built by IAI, which attempted to become the first privately-funded mission to achieve a soft landing on the moon in April.
Beresheet crashed during final descent April 11, but it became the first privately-funded spacecraft to orbit the moon on the way to failed landing attempt. The $100 million Beresheet mission was led by SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit organization that raised funding from wealthy donors, along with financial and labor contributions from IAI, which built the spacecraft.(Source)
Firefly Aerospace is one of the nine companies selected by NASA to participate in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver cargo, including possible science experiments, to the surface of the moon.
The Texas-based company focuses on for-profit launches of small to medium objects, weighing between 1,000 kilograms to 4,000 kilograms. Beresheet weighed about 600 kilograms with fuel. The starting price for a Firefly launch is $15 million.
The project launched as Israel’s entry into the Google LunarX challenge for nongovernmental groups to land a spacecraft on the moon. Google ended the contest in 2018 with no winners, but the Israeli team decided to continue its efforts privately.
The spacecraft cost around $100 million (NIS 370 million), a fraction of the cost of vehicles launched to the moon by major powers US, Russia and China in the past. It was a joint venture between private companies SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded almost entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including South African billionaire Morris Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others.
Firefly Aerospace signed an intellectual property and engineering support agreement to use technology based on #Beresheet. The U.S. company is building a Genesis Lander in fulfillment of NASA's new push to land on the Moon.https://t.co/PMKq6ZKuWM
— Israel To The Moon (@TeamSpaceIL) July 11, 2019