Article image Lockheed-Martin reveals plans for reusable lunar lander

05 October, 2018, 08:43 | Author: Tara Reeves
  • Engineers design spacecraft to take humans to moon and beyond

Plans for the Lunar Gateway were unveiled at a conference in Germany on Wednesday.

After direction from the Trump administration, NASA is working to return humans to the moon for the first time since the historic 1972 landing.

"The Gateway is key to full, frequent and fast reusability of this lander", said in a statement Tim Cichan, the space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin Space who presented the lander concept at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

USA aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, responding to NASA's plans to renew the exploration of the moon and Mars in the next decade, unveiled Wednesday a concept spacecraft able to land on the lunar surface.

It would use NASA's planned Deep Space Gateway space station as a "mothership". The aim is to develop "an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and worldwide partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities".

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The craft can accommodate four people, carry one metric ton of equipment, and stay on the moon for up to two weeks without refueling before returning to the orbiting the station. Orion, which Lockheed is also building for NASA, and the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, which is also in development, will help astronauts explore deep-space destinations, such as the moon and Mars, NASA officials have said. According to a lunar mineralogical map released by NASA a year ago, water is present nearly everywhere on the moon's surface, albeit in minute amounts.

Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and other schools are using the International Space Station to test space communications they say could have major implications for future space missions.

Lockheed's lunar lander will serve as a precursor to an even more ambitious spacecraft: a Mars lander.

In addition, in 2020, the Agency intends to launch 13 satellites CubeSat in low earth orbit to determine how best to prepare cargo to space travel to the moon, Mars or further. 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.

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