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NASA's return to the moon may include a reusable Lunar Lander

Time Life Pictures ] Somewhere in America's spacious spacecraft, a recently assembled team of NASA engineers has begun designing a…

Time Life Pictures

] Somewhere in America’s spacious spacecraft, a recently assembled team of NASA engineers has begun designing a spacecraft to return astronauts. to the surface of the Moon. It would be humanity’s first visit since the 1960s glory days.

Lander Study Group, called inside NASA, puts its very first ideas on paper in recent weeks, according to a NASA presentation that see Popular Mechanics . What’s most exciting about this growing work is that the new moon lander will not be a single finished such as Apollo 11. This 21st century lander will make a round trip. [19659006] Advertisement – Continue reading below

Introduction to the reusable Lunar Lander

A mock-up illustration of the reusable moon shooter. 19659010] Anatoly Zak

In this presentation, NASA’s engineering team explained that it intended to design a reusable crew for the landlord delivered with its own propulsion system. This part of the ship is called the climbing stage and is responsible for returning the crew from the Moon’s surface back to the lunar course. (The descent stage is aimed at securing astronauts to the moon safely, and as with the Apollo program, this stage would be left).

With a reusable lander, Lunar Gateway can suddenly be much more multi-dimensional to researchers, engineers and spaceords.

What mothers know the idea of ​​a reusable lander possible is the fact that NASA and its international partners are already designing a small moon station visited by crews at least once a year starting in mid 2020- the number. The idea is that lunar landers would dock with this so-called Lunar Gateway and stay there while waiting for a new crew to arrive from the ground aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

With a reusable lander, Lunar Gateway can suddenly be much more multi-dimensional to researchers, engineers and spacecraft. Instead of just working on the Gateway in the void some of Orion’s crew can control the landlord and make a sortie on the moon surface.

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Between Man and the Moon

Getty Images NASA

While the idea of ​​a reusable lander makes logistical sense, there are some serious technical challenges that stand in the way. For one, Gateway will rest in a giant egg-shaped lunar course which, with good for some cases, is not the most convenient mode for reaching the moon surface when it comes to gas mileage. It is his NASA team awarded a total of 45 tons for the entire country system, which is almost twice as big as Orion’s mass.

The design team is also considering dividing the landlord into three 15-tonne segments: the crew cab with the ascension engine, the descent stage and the arc. The spacecraft would make the most of heavy lifting and push the lander from the gateway to the lowest possible lane course, where the descent would then take over brake maneuvers.

As a result, the replacement step, which would come with every new Orion crew (as well as ascension propellant) could have a smallest size, while the arc could be used for multiple ferry trips. Both potentially reusable parts of the lander – the climbing stage and the arc of space – can be tanked in the lane course from a 22 tonne tanker shipped from the ground.

Return to the moon, take two

Illustration of Altair landser


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This reusable spacecraft is not the first moon landers proposed since Apollo 11, the last crew of the moon, returned in 1972. At the beginning of the 2000s, NASA drafted the impressive Altair lander for the Constellation program, President George W. Bush’s vision to return to the moon and then to Mars. NASA abandoned Altair when the project expired in economic and political problems. Orion spacecraft was the main survivor of the now-interrupted constellation program, but without the farmer, the four-seat capsule could only run around the moon.

During the internal years, different aerospace industries in the US, Europe and Russia have tinkered with different countries patterns, mostly at their own expense and without government approval. The last example was The Lander proposal by Lockheed Martin revealed earlier this month.

What is different with this study, however, is its NASA approval and its design is initiated in the wider multinational effort. Although it is still uncertain who will pay the bill for humanity’s return to the moon, several space organizations expressed optimism about their governments’ financial support.

Of course, these plans can be changed early in the planning and development of the years. But Lander Study Group’s reusable spacecraft is another convincing proof that people are ready to go back to the moon.

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