Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Engineers design spacecraft to take humans to moon and beyond

Jeff Bezos space company designing large lunar lander NASA, Israel Space Agency Sign Agreement for Commercial Lunar Cooperation
Doris Mccormick | 06 October, 2018, 12:30

"NASA called on the industry for new and innovative approaches to advance America's goal of bringing humans back to the moon and establishing a sustainable and enduring presence there", stated Lisa Callahan, the vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin.

The 46-foot single-stage lander is twice as tall as the Lunar Module used on the Apollo missions - and can carry four astronauts (twice as many as Apollo's Module). That craft will be sent into space aboard NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), still under development and created to be the most powerful rocket ever built.

It would however need to be refueled between missions, potentially using water from the Moon's surface.

"The Gateway is key to full, frequent and fast reusability of this lander", said Tim Cichan, space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin Space, who presented the lander concept at the International Astronautical Congress. To fulfill its vision, the space agency wants to rely on private space enterprises to meet its hardware needs, and Lockheed Martin is taking this role very seriously.

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In August, researchers found frozen water on the Moon for the first time.

The lander uses NASA-proven technologies and systems from the Orion spacecraft, which has already flown two orbits around Earth.

The aerospace company has specifically designed the lunar lander to transport four astronauts between a space station, in this case, the NASA Gateway, to the lunar surface. In an August speech, Vice President Mike Pence made clear that returning to the Moon is a top priority for the USA, an objective previously put forth by the Trump administration. The first Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface could take place by as early as 2023, company executives have said.

Dr. Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL (left), Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency (ISA - second from left), NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (second from right), and NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen (right), following the signing of the agreement.

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