Fu­ture tech re­us­able lu­nar lan­der

Lock­heed Mar­tin has an­nounced a new sin­gle-stage de­sign that would work well with nasa’s lu­nar Gate­way

All About Space - - Contents -

Lock­heed Mar­tin has an­nounced a new ini­tia­tive tipped to join NASA’s Lu­nar Gate­way

pace sus­tain­abil­ity is for­ever in the minds of sci­en­tists and en­gi­neers alike, and they are work­ing to­gether to im­prove the fea­si­bil­ity of numer­ous lu­nar trips. Space ex­plo­ration has shown we are ca­pa­ble of tak­ing man to the Moon and land­ing on it suc­cess­fully. It has also re­vealed that it is pos­si­ble to build and main­tain a space sta­tion. When you com­bine this knowl­edge and ex­trap­o­late its ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the fu­ture you get NASA’s pro­posed Lu­nar Gate­way, which will ad­vance hu­man’s at­ten­dance in space, par­tic­u­larly within the vicin­ity of the Moon.

A re­cent an­nounce­ment was made at the

69th In­ter­na­tional Astro­nau­ti­cal Congress (IAC) in Bre­men, Ger­many, where Lock­heed Mar­tin re­vealed its new con­cepts for an ex­cit­ing re­us­able Moon lan­der that can work along­side NASA’s pro­posed lu­nar out­post. This lu­nar lan­der fur­thers the pos­si­bil­ity of sus­tain­able space travel to the Moon and could even pro­vide a valu­able ser­vice for fu­ture mis­sions to Mars. The key to this lan­der is its reusabil­ity, and with a hy­dro­gen/ oxy­gen propul­sion sys­tem it is pos­si­ble that the proven pres­ence of wa­ter ice on the Moon could be vi­tal for mul­ti­ple vis­its.

“NASA asked in­dus­try for in­no­va­tive and new ap­proaches to ad­vance Amer­ica’s goal of re­turn­ing hu­mans to the Moon and es­tab­lish­ing a sus­tain­able, en­dur­ing pres­ence there,“says Lisa Cal­la­han, vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Com­mer­cial Civil Space at Lock­heed Mar­tin Space. “This is a con­cept that takes full ad­van­tage of both the Gate­way and ex­ist­ing tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a ver­sa­tile, pow­er­ful lan­der that can be built quickly and af­ford­ably. This lan­der could be used to es­tab­lish a sur­face base, de­liver sci­en­tific or com­mer­cial cargo and con­duct ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­plo­ration of the Moon.”

This crewed lan­der will con­sist of a sin­gle-stage, fully re­us­able sys­tem that will in­clude tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems taken from an­other of NASA’s pro­jects, the Orion space­craft, which is be­ing built for the hu­man ex­plo­ration of deep space. This lan­der will ac­com­mo­date four peo­ple and also over 900 kilo­grams (roughly 2,000 pounds) of pay­load as they jour­ney to the lu­nar sur­face. It will be able to stay on the Moon’s sur­face for up to 14 days with­out re­fu­elling be­fore re­turn­ing back to the Lu­nar Gate­way.

The ben­e­fits of be­ing able to ac­cess mul­ti­ple sites with a re­us­able lan­der has in­cred­i­bly pos­i­tive con­se­quences for in­ter­na­tional, com­mer­cial and sci­en­tific com­mu­ni­ties. After the as­tro­nauts have made their visit to the Moon and con­ducted their ex­per­i­ments and other such busi­ness, the lan­der will then launch back to the Lu­nar Gate­way where it can be re­fu­elled, ser­viced and parked un­til its next mis­sion. Much like how the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion is key to pre­par­ing for long-term deep space travel, Lock­heed Mar­tin’s lan­der will be es­sen­tial in pre­par­ing for an even­tual Mar­tian touch­down, as both the Moon and Mars have a much weaker grav­ity and also ex­hibit an es­sen­tially non-ex­is­tent at­mos­phere.

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