The three companies, which include firms of tech billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, will share $967 million from NASA.
Details on specific amounts each company will receive were not immediately known.
Boeing Co (BA.N), a NASA contractor and one of the companies that bid for this contract, was not selected.
Unlike the Apollo program that put astronauts on the moon 50 years ago, NASA is gearing up for a long-term presence on Earth’s satellite that the agency says will eventually enable humans to reach Mars.
The next manned mission to the moon will require leaps in robotic technologies and a plan for NASA to work with the three companies to design and develop human landing systems.
“We are following through on the president’s space policy directive,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, calling the selection “historic”.
Picking three providers allows NASA to have redundancy in case one company falls behind in development, Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s human landing system program manager, told reporters on Thursday.