NASA is asking non-public business to give you concepts for an additional astronaut moon lander.
The area company is working to ascertain a long-term human presence on and across the moon by the top of the 2020s, by way of a program known as Artemis. In 2021, NASA introduced that it had chosen SpaceX’s Starship because the lander for this system’s first crewed floor mission, Artemis 3, which is scheduled to the touch down close to the lunar south pole in 2025 or 2026.
In March of this 12 months, company officers stated that they deliberate to encourage the event of a second crewed lander for Artemis, to supply redundancy and resilience for this system. That plan grew to become official right this moment (Sept. 16), when NASA issued a name for proposals from non-public firms.
Associated: NASA’s Artemis program of moon exploration
“Work completed underneath this solicitation, along with present lander growth and research happening, will assist construct the inspiration for long-term deep area exploration,” Lisa Watson-Morgan, program supervisor for the Human Touchdown System Program at NASA’s Marshall Area Flight Heart in Alabama, stated in an announcement right this moment (opens in new tab).
“Partnering with American firms to try this work now permits us to leverage NASA’s information and experience to encourage technological improvements for a sustained presence at the moon,” Watson-Morgan stated.
NASA issued a draft of the brand new solicitation on March 31 and held a digital “business day” about it in April earlier than releasing the ultimate name right this moment, company officers stated. Proposals are due by Nov. 15 of this 12 months. Corporations which can be chosen underneath the contract can be required to carry out two demonstration flights to the lunar floor, one uncrewed and one crewed.
The contract that SpaceX already holds with NASA has an identical requirement; the crewed take a look at flight is a part of the Artemis 3 mission.
Although SpaceX apparently will not be allowed to bid for the brand new contract, NASA needs Starship to be a part of the Artemis program over the lengthy haul. NASA officers stated in right this moment’s assertion that they plan to train an possibility in SpaceX’s present contract, asking the corporate to evolve its Artemis 3 Starship design “to fulfill an prolonged set of necessities for sustaining missions on the moon and conduct one other crewed demonstration touchdown.”
The Artemis program might choose up critical steam in a matter of days. NASA is gearing up for this system’s first-ever take a look at flight, Artemis 1, which is able to use a Area Launch System rocket to ship an Orion capsule on an uncrewed journey to lunar orbit and again.
Artemis 1 was initially alleged to launch on Aug. 29, however technical glitches pushed the liftoff try again a number of occasions. The company is at present concentrating on Sept. 27 for the launch.
Mike Wall is the writer of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a ebook concerning the seek for alien life. Comply with him on Twitter (opens in new tab). Comply with us on Twitter (opens in new tab) or on Fb (opens in new tab).