U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross traveled to Pittsburgh on October 19 and attended the grand opening of Astrobotic Technology, Inc., a 47,000 square foot facility that will be the primary hub for lunar logistics in the United States. Secretary Ross emphasized the important role of the commercial space sector in the growing global space economy. He was joined by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Astrobotic CEO John Thornton and other state and local leaders. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine joined the group virtually and stressed the importance of strong public-private partnerships to the future of the space industry.
During his remarks, Secretary Ross praised Astrobotic as an American success story that is yet another example of Pennsylvania’s ingenuity, work ethic and tenacity. He also stressed that Pennsylvania’s rich history in manufacturing makes it a true asset to the space industry.
Astrobotic is the first commercial space company to offer lunar transportation and lunar logistics services commercially. They are working to make space accessible to the world through a line of lunar landers that deliver payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals. Astrobotic’s ability to provide planetary access will help stimulate developments in space exploration, science, tourism, resource utilization, and mining. These services will be critical to establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon and critical to the eventual use of lunar resources.
Astrobotic currently offers two lunar landers, the Griffin and the Peregrine. Secretary Ross noted that these American-designed, American made landers will provide foundational services for opening the Moon to science, exploration, and commercial activity. Commercial ventures represent roughly 80 percent of the global space economy’s more than $400 billion value and that the U.S. is responsible for more than half of that economic activity.
Peregrine is slated for launch in 2021 and will be the first commercial lander to touch down on the moon and the first lunar landing since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Secretary Ross stressed that the commercial space industry is critical to the Trump Administration’s commitment to returning to the Moon in 2024 and to solidifying the U.S. presence in space.
The Commerce Department is home to the Office of Space Commerce, the lead federal agency for the advancement of commercial space activities. Click here for more information on how they help U.S. businesses use the unique medium of space to benefit our economy.
In addition, for more information on past Secretarial speeches and announcements on space commerce, please visit https://www.commerce.gov/issues/space-commerce.