Lockheed Martin's Lunar Lander Seats 4 Astronauts

Jan Cross
October 5, 2018

The massive lander is a single-stage reusable system capable of accommodating a crew of four and 2,000 pounds of cargo on the surface of the Moon for up to two weeks.

To achieve this goal, NASA has called on aerospace industry producers to present plans to build a space station that orbits around the moon, dubbed the "Lunar Gateway", as well as spacecraft that land on the moon.

On Thursday, at the World Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, the aerospace company unveiled the design for a spacecraft that's meant to shuttle up to four astronauts between an orbiting space station and the moon's surface.

Among the plan's strategic objectives, NASA calls for returning US astronauts on the surface of the moon. 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. "Because this lander doesn't have to endure the punishment of re-entering Earth's atmosphere, it can be re-flown many times over without needing significant and costly refurbishment".

"I am pleased to expand the commercial agreement in the lunar environment, as innovative partnerships are essential as we move back to the moon and create new opportunities there", said Bridenstine.

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The agency has also conducted nine manned missions and is planning for a human return to the Moon, followed by missions to Mars and beyond.

After direction from the Trump administration, NASA is working to return humans to the moon for the first time since the historic 1972 landing. In addition, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to take scientific measurements of the SpaceIL lander as it lands on the Moon.

Tim Cichan, space exploration architect, said: "The Gateway is key to full, frequent and fast reusability of this lander".

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.

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