Bezos' space company designing large lunar lander

Pat Wise
October 6, 2018

Lockheed's vehicle would be be twice as tall as the Lunar Module used during the Apollo missions to the Moon almost half a century ago, reports Ars Technica, which carried two astronauts for brief stints of just a few days.

The Lunar Module used during the Apollo missions could support a crew of two for just a few days.

An artist's illustration of Lockheed Martin's proposed moon lander attached to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a small space station that NASA aims to start building in lunar orbit in 2022.

'This is a concept that takes full advantage of both the Gateway and existing technologies to create a versatile, powerful lander that can be built quickly and affordably. "This lander could be used to establish a surface base, deliver scientific or commercial cargo and perform Moon exploration", Lisa Callahan added.

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"Gateway is key to the total, frequent and rapid reuse of this lander", added Tim Cichan, space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin, who presented the Moon lander concept at the International Astronautical Congress.

Exposure to galactic cosmic radiation during deep space travel, such as to Mars, might significantly damage gastrointestinal functions in astronauts, say researchers, led by one of an Indian-origin. "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". Much of the hardware will be modeled on Lockheed's future deep-space crew capsule Orion, which the company has been developing for NASA and which reportedly costs $20 billion.

Earlier this week, Blue Origin announced it is partnering with the European Space Agency, Airbus and other companies for an worldwide "Moon Race" competition, encouraging groups to develop sustainable technology for a lunar base. "The next logical step in this path is a return to the Moon". Similarly to the current moon exploration plan, NASA would like to ultimately deploy a space station to Mars' orbit.

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