WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

NASA Asking Private Industry To Design New Lunar Lander For Astronauts

The Trump administration wants to put humans on the moon by 2024 -- four years sooner than previously planned. Photo: NASA

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

NASA is asking private companies to design and build a new lunar lander. The agency is preparing to launch humans to the surface of the moon from Kennedy Space Center by 2024.

Vice President Mike Pence charged the agency with landing humans on the moon in just five years — four years sooner than previously planned.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said to meet that goal, the agency is asking the private space industry to design a critical element — a lander that will get astronauts safely to the surface of the moon.

The agency said the solicitation could result in multiple awards for contractors to continue research and development of the spacecraft.

“This sense of urgency is a big part of what we all believe is going to be a critical component in driving success,” said Space Florida’s Dale Ketcham. “If you put a deadline out there that’s real, immediate and in your face, it’s going to drive innovation, it’s going to drive activity and that’s going to lead to success. We’re really excited about it.”

NASA is also asking for smaller landers to help send science and cargo to the moon even sooner, announcing awards for those contracts as early as this month.

Bridenstine said the agency will submit an amended budget proposal that includes funding for the accelerated moon mission to Congress next week.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.


WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »