"We're trying to very quickly develop an American capability to deliver small payloads to the surface of the moon and then grow from there", Bridenstine said during the announcement.
Today NASA revealed the nine companies it has selected to compete to take NASA payloads to the surface of the Moon.
The announcement came just three days after NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars.
US-based space agency NASA on Thursday announced nine commercial American companies in a partnership to develop lunar robotic landers in the coming decade.
Still, Earth's only natural satellite is being explored by other nations; China's Chang'e 4 and 5 missions, which would deliver a rover to the Moon, and return rock samples from the surface, is slated to launch next year.
The exploration of the Moon will follow next, with the ultimate goal, a trip to Mars and back, to end the current stage of human expansion to space.
Uncrewed lunar missions could begin launching as early as next year, with the goal of sending two payloads to the lunar surface every year for the next 10 years.
When asked what information companies had to provide in order to participate in the program and how NASA chose the winners, Zurbuchen did not go into specifics. "The innovation of America's aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve unbelievable things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars", Bridenstine said.
NASA has big plans to go back to the moon, and it wants private companies to help them get there.
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Citing worries over components such as parachutes, the first flight has been pushed back to an unspecified date later in the spring, casting doubt on whether a crewed flight could occur this year from United States soil.
Astrobotic's Peregrine Lunar Lander is created to deliver up to a 35-kilogram payload to the lunar surface.
NASA plans to have astronauts orbiting the moon again by 2023, with a landing a few years later.
The tenders will be conducted under NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services program, which foresees exploration of the Moon's surface and the building of a lunar orbiting station called Gateway, an outpost for astronauts and spacecraft travelling to the Moon, the agency announced on November 29.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, has announced that private companies will make America's next moon landing.
NASA's CLPS programme will offer contracts worth a combined value of about $2.6 billion over the next 10 years. "Our investment is low because we have other people who are investing", said Bridenstine.
This illustration made available by NASA in 2018 shows the InSight lander drilling into Mars.
Bridenstine said while NASA wants the companies to succeed, the space agency is certain some of the efforts will fail.