NASA picks four small US companies to make Artemis Moon tech

NASA has selected four small companies in the US to 'mature' tech for its upcoming Artemis Moon missions. The combined value of these follow-on contracts will amount to around $17 million, according to the space agency, which previously awarded the companies contracts to develop and demonstrate these technologies. NASA anticipates the contracts helping speed up the development of Moon tech that it needs to meet its deadlines.

These four companies previously received contracts under NASA's small business program called SBIR/STTR. Under those contracts, the companies developed their respective technologies and demonstrated them for the space agency. NASA has selected these four to move ahead with maturing the technology into something it can use for future missions.

The four companies are:

- Fibertek in Virginia

- Qualtech Systems in Connecticut

- Pioneer Astronautics in Colorado

- Protoinnovations in Pennsylvania

The technologies that will be matured under these contracts include ones related to optical communications, autonomous systems, hardware to turn lunar soil into steel and oxygen, and advanced traction control for Moon rovers. NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate associate administrator Jim Reuter explained:

Small businesses are integral to the development of space technology. With this new lunar sequential funding opportunity, they will advance in-situ resource utilization, laser communications, and other high-impact technologies for use on the Moon. Each business has a track record of success with NASA, and we believe their technologies will have a direct impact on the Artemis program.