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Volusia Lunar Lander Company Withdraws From NASA Contract

Photo: Orbit Beyond
Photo: Orbit Beyond

A company with plans to build a robotic lander in Daytona Beach has lost a $97 million contract from NASA.

Private company OrbitBeyond won the contract from NASA earlier this year to send a new moon lander to the lunar surface.

But in a statement, NASA said OrbitBeyond asked to terminate the contract, citing “internal corporate challenges that will prevent the timely completion of its awarded task order.” The agency said OrbitBeyond is still eligible for future contracts under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program.

ObritBeyond is based in New Jersey, but had plans to expand in Volusia County to build the robotic moon lander.

NASA selected two other companies for the first round of moon deliveries -- and says its on track to land the first science experiments in 2021.

“We know that CLPS missions are going to be challenging for various reasons, and they may not always succeed,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, head of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. “We’re willing to accept some risk in order to get back to the Moon quickly, with commercial partners, and do exciting science and technology development with broad applications.”

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."