By Clark Shultz
NASA plans to return to the moon next week for a 42-day test flight as a new era in space exploration opens up. The space agency’s uncrewed Artemis I could launch during a two-hour launch window scheduled for August 29 from 8:33 a.m. ET to 10:33 a.m. There are backup launch windows on September 2 and September 5.
A key mission goal is to make sure the capsule’s heat shield can protect returning astronauts from the intense heat of re-entry on a future flight. The ultimate goal for the Artemis program is to send missions beyond the moon into deep space. What follows Artemis I? NASA aims for a crewed SLS-Orion mission around the moon with Artemis II as early as 2024 to be followed a year or more later by an Artemis III trip to the lunar surface, with SpaceX (SPACE) providing the lift.
There are plenty of stocks which could be impacted by how the moonshots go. Lockheed Martin (LMT) is the prime contractor on the Orion spacecraft, while NASA’s prime contractors for the rocket launch system include Aerojet Rocketdyne (AJRD), Boeing (NYSE:BA), and Northrop Grumman (NOC).
Redwire’s (RDW) critical sun sensor components and advanced optical imaging technologies will be launching on NASA’s Orion spacecraft as a part of the space agency’s Artemis I mission.
Aeva Technologies (AEVA) is also in the mix with a LiDAR-based mobile terrain-mapping and navigation system designed to support the next generation of lunar and planetary exploration, while KULR Technology Group (KULR) has a battery safety contract with NASA to test its lithium-ion cells going into battery packs designed for the Artemis Program.
Raytheon Technologies'(RTX) unit Collins Aerospace & Axiom Space was selected to advance spacewalking capabilities in low-Earth orbit and on the Moon.
Lunar vehicles need tires, which Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) is being contracted to develop.
Rocket Lab (RKLB) has been used to test new orbits around the moon, while Canoo (GOEV) vehicles are planned to be used to shuttle astronauts to the launchpad. Sidus Space (SIDU) is a sub-contractor for extravehicular activity services.
On the communications side, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Amazon (AMZN), and Cisco (CSCO) have teamed up to develop new voice, AI and tabletbased video technologies for use around the moon and back.
The list of companies with an interest in the moon is expected to grow rapidly after scientific experiments begin on the surface.
Seeking Alpha Marketplace author Cestrian Space Select has in-depth coverage of the space sector.