Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to Charles F. Bolden, Jr., NASA’s Administrator, pushing for a plan that would select a Pittsburgh company to be the first commercial lunar mission to successfully land on the moon. Pittsburgh company Astrobotic Technology Inc., a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff, is competing with companies around the country to be selected for this project. The selection of Astrobotic Technology would be a major boost to the region’s emerging technology sector and give Western Pennsylvania a foothold in this new, emerging industry.
“Western Pennsylvania has always been a region that creates its own future. Taking the lead on this ambitious commercial space travel initiative is only fitting,” Senator Casey said. “The fact that a company in our region is under consideration for this project is an indication of how high our tech industry has risen over the last decades. I’m hopeful that NASA will select Astrobotic Technology so Pittsburgh can lead the way in this exciting endeavor.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:
Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Dear Administrator Bolden,
It is my understanding that Astrobotic Technology Inc., located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has submitted an application to NASA under the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar- CATALYST) program. The purpose of this letter is to urge you to give full and fair consideration to this proposal.
I have been informed that Astrobotic Technology has developed the technical capability, business model, and payload customer pipeline for regular, affordable commercial lunar cargo delivery through robotic landings. My office has been advised that the research and investment taking place at Astrobotic Technology will meet the goals of the Lunar –CATALYST program by advancing partnerships and development of a commercial lunar lander through Astrobotic's Griffin lander that delivers small and medium class payloads to any destination on the Moon. In addition, I have been informed that Astrobotic Technology developed a business plan to support a wide range of mission needs by tailoring its services and fees according to the destination and needs of the commercial and public sectors.
I understand that Astrobotic Technology, as a Carnegie Mellon University spin off company, has a long history of engagement with NASA, and is currently working on 15 contracts with NASA. It is the goal of Astrobotic Technology. to enhance this partnership through the Lunar-CATALYST program in order to promote the ultimate goal of expanding this exciting lunar adventure to commercial and academic entities. Further development of NASA’s partnership with Astrobotic Technology has the potential to enhance opportunities in the manufacturing, research and development, and STEM education fields in a manner consistent with NASA’s mission.
Thank you in advance for consideration of my views. Please include this letter in the official record of the application. Consistent with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, I also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this proposal.