The last time the U.S. put metal on the moon was 50 years ago, when Apollo 17 stuck the final crewed lunar landing. But by the end of 2022, an American spacecraft will likely again touch down on the moon’s surface. In 2018, NASA established the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program, recruiting the private sector to deliver cargo to the moon in support of future crewed Artemis program missions. Fourteen companies, including giants like Lockheed Martin, have received CLPS contracts, but it is the small aerospace company Astrobotic that will be first out of the blocks with its 6.2 ft. (1.9 m) tall, 8.5 ft. (2.6 m) wide Peregrine lander. The spacecraft will conduct scientific research and prove that private industry can indeed reach the moon. “We’ve been called the spearhead of Artemis,” says Astrobotic’s Alivia Chapla. “This mission is bringing America back to the moon.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey.kluger@time.com.

Augmented Job Training
Next-Level EV
Flash-Frozen Coffee to Go
Athletic Apparel for the Smartwatch Era
Meditate in the Metaverse
EDIT POST