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NASA to reveal new space tech partners for 2024 Moon mission

 As NASA plans to return humans to the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis programme, the US space agency will announce new space tech public-private partnerships next week.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will discuss NASA's Artemis programme and announce the agency's latest ‘Tipping Point' selections and their potential impact on sustainable lunar exploration on October 14.

NASA released the opportunity in January this year, seeking US industry-developed space technologies to foster the development of commercial space capabilities and benefit future missions.

"Following Bridenstine's remarks, Associate Administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) Jim Reuter will give a short update on the agency's Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative," NASA said in a statement on Saturday.

As part of its Artemis programme, NASA plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establish a sustainable presence there by the end of the decade.

The agency will use the Moon to prepare for its next giant leap – human exploration of Mars.

NASA has already started preparing astronauts for the challenges that they will face on the lunar surface.

The training includes performing tasks underwater in especially built giant pools and using different analog environments to simulate lunar conditions.

As part of a test series occurring in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) at Johnson Space Center in Houston, astronauts in a demonstration version of the exploration spacesuit and engineers in "hard hat" dive equipment are simulating several different tasks crew could do on the surface of the Moon, NASA said.

"This early testing will help determine the best complement of facilities for hardware development and requirements for future Artemis training and missions," said Daren Welsh, extravehicular activity test lead for these Artemis preparation test runs.

"At the same time, we are going to be able to gather valuable feedback on spacewalk tools and procedures that will help inform some of the objectives for the missions."

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