You can watch announcement at 2 PM EST (1900 GMT) below!
Apart from Mars, the Moon is the juiciest apple in the eyes of the newly resurgent space industry: Russia has announced plans to create a permanent Moon base populated by robotic avatars, Japan’s company iSpace has recently taken the first step in making its ‘Moon Valley’ concept a reality, and NASA itself plans to land astronauts there by the late 2020s. There’s also plans for the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, which will act as a base of operations for deep space missions and lunar exploration, as well as jumping-off point for missions to Mars.
Still, NASA’s Moon plans aren’t without their critics—the President of the Mars Society recently published an article decrying the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, calling it the “Lunar Orbit Tollbooth.” He also called for NASA to abandon its other “useless” projects and focus on making America a leader in space exploration again, which is strange considering that’s exactly what Space Policy Direct 1 claims to do.
Regardless of which new commercial partners NASA announces today, two are pretty much assured for the future: SpaceX and Boeing. Both companies have already completed cargo missions to the ISS, and the next step will be manned missions, though a recent safety investigation spurred by Elon Musk’s pot scandal may throw a wrench into those plans.