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Companies chosen to study Lunar Landers for the Artemis program

<! – To land astronauts on the moon before 2024 during the Artemis program, NASA must get a jump on the evolution of crew moon moons. -> Derek Richardson May 17, 2019 An illustration of a human landing system. NASA plans to contract commercial companies to develop landers for the Agency's Artemis program. Image Credit: NASA To land astronauts on the moon before 2024 during the Artemis program, NASA must gain hope for the development of crew-rated moon markers. According to a notice issued by the Space Agency, this would begin with initial studies through the Agency's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract. "To accelerate our return to the moon, we challenge our traditional ways of doing business," Marshall Smith, head of human moon exploration at NASA's headquarters, said in a press release. "We will streamline everything from procurement to partnership to hardware development and even business. Our team is happy to come back to the moon as soon as possible, and our public / private partnerships to study human landing systems are an important step in that process. . " An illustration of a rising vehicle that begins its return journey to the Lunar Gateway. Image Credit: NASA A total of $ 45.5 million is being awarded to 11 companies, each year contributing at least 20 percent of the total projected cost, NASA says. The companies are expected to spend the next six months studying and developing prototypes. Right now, NASA sees a three-stage human landing system:…

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To land astronauts on the moon before 2024 during the Artemis program, NASA must get a jump on the evolution of crew moon moons.

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An illustration of a human landing system. NASA plans to contract commercial companies to develop landers for the Agency’s Artemis program. Image Credit: NASA

To land astronauts on the moon before 2024 during the Artemis program, NASA must gain hope for the development of crew-rated moon markers.

According to a notice issued by the Space Agency, this would begin with initial studies through the Agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) contract.

“To accelerate our return to the moon, we challenge our traditional ways of doing business,” Marshall Smith, head of human moon exploration at NASA’s headquarters, said in a press release. “We will streamline everything from procurement to partnership to hardware development and even business. Our team is happy to come back to the moon as soon as possible, and our public / private partnerships to study human landing systems are an important step in that process. . “

An illustration of a rising vehicle that begins its return journey to the Lunar Gateway. Image Credit: NASA

A total of $ 45.5 million is being awarded to 11 companies, each year contributing at least 20 percent of the total projected cost, NASA says. The companies are expected to spend the next six months studying and developing prototypes.

Right now, NASA sees a three-stage human landing system: a transfer step to get the system from a very elliptical orbit (where a Lunar Gateway would be placed) around the moon, to a low-lunar pathway. The other two stages include a descent stage to land on the moon and a rising step to return to Gateway.

At least two of these parts, the transfer vehicle and the ascending vehicle are expected to be refilled and reused. Since such other objects being studied include refueling concepts.

According to the agency, the partnership is designed to reduce the cost of US taxpayers and encourage “early private investment in the moon economy”.

NASA provided the following list of awardees:

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne – Canoga Park, California
    • A Transfer Vehicle Study
  • Blue Origin – Kent, Washington
    • A descent element study, a transfer study and a transfer prototype
  • Boeing – Houston
    • A descent element study, two descent element prototypes, a transfer vehicle study, a transfer prototype, a refueling study, and a refueling prototype
  • Dynetics – Huntsville, Alabama
    • A descent element study and five descent elements prototypes
  • Lockheed Martin – Littleton, Colorado
    • A descent element study, four descent elements prototypes, a transfer study and a firing element study
  • The Space Systems Mast – Mojave, California
    • A descent element prototype
  • Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems – Dulles, Virginia
    • A descent element study, four descent element prototypes, a firing element study, and a prototype refueling element
  • OrbitBeyond – Edison, New Jersey
    • Prototypes with two refueling elements
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation, Louisville, Colorado and Madison, Wisconsin
    • A descent element study, a descent element prototype, a transfer study, a transfer prototype, and a firing element study
  • SpaceX – Hawthorne, California
    • A descent element study
  • SSL – Palo Alto, California
    • A refueling element study and a refueling element prototype

In an attempt to kick-start the development as soon as possible, NASA stated that it was “calling for undefined contract action”, which it would say would allow the agency to authorize its partners to start certain jobs while negotiating the contract price continues in parallel.

“We are taking big steps to begin development as soon as possible, including invoking a NextSTEP option that allows our partners to start working while we are still negotiating,” said Greg Chavers, male landing system formulation manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a NASA press release. “We are keen to gather early industry feedback on our human landing system requirements, and the undefined contract action helps us do that.”

An illustration of a Blue Origin lander with a rising truck. This configuration can be used to send NASA astronauts to the Moon’s surface by 2024. A manning landing would occur during the Artemis 3 mission. Image Credit: Blue Origin

Mission Plan


NASA’s newly created Artemis (the goddess of the moon and sister of god Apollo in Greek mythology) program needs at least $ 1.6 billion in additional funding over the President’s original budget year 2020 budget request of 21 billions of dollars. Further increases would also be needed in 2021 and 2022. An exact number is not yet known.

The bulk of the FY 2020 increase is expected to go against the development of crew members, probably a result of this NextSTEP contract.

The current plan requires at least one multi-stage crew-marked lunar landing system to be in place at a scaled-down Lunar Gateway stationed in Moon Moon by 2024.

An illustration of a version of NASA’s Lunar Gateway with a lander docked. NASA says Gateway is required for the Artemis program to successfully return astronauts to the moon by 2024. Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

If a two-module gateway is included, at least five commercial launches are included to set the stage for the astronauts to return to the moon 2024.

Meanwhile, NASA and entrepreneurs Boeing and Lockheed Martin are working to complete the development of their space launch rocket and Orion spacecraft.

From now on, the first launch of the system, Artemis 1 (former exploration mission 1), is expected to start no earlier than the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. It would mean an unrestricted mission around the moon.

Artemis 2 is then expected to send a crew of four on a return trip around the moon in 2022.

Finally, Artemis 3 is expected to fly a four-person crew to dock with the Lunar Gateway, transfer to a lunar land and fly to the moon’s surface.

Upon completion of this mission, the crew is expected to use the ascending vehicle part of the landing system to return to Gateway before boarding the Orion for the journey home.

From there, NASA plans to continue lunar landings, making the Artemis program sustainable in 2028.

According to NASA, all this falls under President Trump’s space policy directive-1, requiring the agency to return astronauts to the moon surface with commercial and international partners and utilize the Moon’s resources to make it sustainable.

Video courtesy of NASA

Revocation Political Risk


The biggest obstacle is now, according to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, retirement of political risk. In order for the Agency to proceed with the Artemis program, it needs additional funding, which must be approved by Congress.

As of now, support for the accelerated program is mixed, especially because of the proposed funding source of another $ 1.6 billion in the revised budget request: a $ 9 billion surplus in the Federal Pell Grant program, which provides teaching support for low income students.

NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William Gerstenmaier certifies under a subcommittee on space and aviation hearing on May 8, 2019. Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA

Several democratic representatives in this House have already opposed this source.

Representative Eddie Bernice Joh Nson, a Texas Democrat, said in a May 15 speech that she would reserve them on the overall program until a more concrete budget is given.

Johnson said she did not believe that NASA’s exploration program should be funded through the Pell Grant program as coming to the moon will “take more researchers and engineers, not fewer”.

In addition, on May 16, the House Appropriations Committee released an expense bill that would increase the NASA budget by $ 1.3 billion over the president’s original request. But much of it would go towards an increased science budget with the development of the Lunar Gateway, and lunar researchers surveyed with $ 618 million, essentially ignoring the President’s request.

There is still a long process before NASA gets a final budget for FY 2020, including passing through the entire House of Representatives and Senate before getting the President’s signature.

Video courtesy of NASA

Tagged: Artemis 1 Artemis program Blue Origin Exploration Mission 1 FY 2020 Lead Stories Lunar Lander Moon Moon at 2024 NASA Space Launch System SpaceX

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson graduated in the mass media, with emphasis on modern journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. During Washburn, he was managing editor of Student Run Newspaper, Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter.

His passion for space ignited when he saw the Space Shuttle Discovery launch in space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After becoming mathematics and engineering courses in college, he soon showed that his true call communicated with others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has been working to increase the quality of our content and eventually become our management editor. @TheSpaceWriter

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