NASA contracts Firefly Aerospace for a far-side lunar lander worth $112 million

The private lander will carry two agency payloads, as well as a communication and data relay satellite for lunar orbit, according to a statement from the U.S. space agency.

The agreement is a component of the Artemis program’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project, which aims to send privately manufactured lunar rovers to the moon in the coming years to conduct surface research.

Last year, NASA gave a similar $73 million contract to the spacecraft software company Draper to transport scientific and technological cargo to the far side of the moon in 2025.

Firefly, which made its first orbital entry in October, has endured years of hardship, including being saved from bankruptcy in 2017 by Noosphere Ventures, a company founded by Ukrainian-born businessman Max Polyakov.

NASA awarded Firefly, located in Cedar Park, Texas, $93.3 million in 2021 for the mission, which would send a group of 10 science experiments and technological demos to the moon in 2023.