Aerospace giant Boeing has unveiled its proposal for a lander that could bring people to the lunar surface.
Under the Artemis program, the White House wants to bring people back to the moon by 2024.
Named "the fewest steps to the moon," would use the giant rocket Space Launch System (SLS).
The company says its plan reduces the complexity associated with sending multiple pieces of hardware into space on multiple launches.
For Most space missions, the entire hardware required for the mission is launched with a rocket. Likewise, the Apollo Missions with Moon crew required only one takeoff in the 1
However, it is expected that the Artemis missions will include multiple flights to bring all the hardware needed to the ground. For example, the lander elements are likely to be fired separately from the Orion capsule crew.
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To the moon and beyond
Boeing says it can land astronauts on the moon with only five "mission-critical events" – such as take-off, orbit and others – instead of the 11 or more needed for alternative strategies.
The NASA has previously indicated its preferred option was a lunar module ferry, which was divided into three stages, but left the door open for "alternative, innovative approaches".
Boeing's proposal uses only two stages – a descent element that carries astronauts to the surface, and an ascension element to help them reach the crew from the surface and back into the lunar orbit at the end of a mission. They should be started as a unit.
The company states that its lander can be transported from lunar orbit to the surface without any additional transfer element or "tug", as previously established by NASA.
This would further reduce the launches required for a mission and simplify the steps required for a successful landing.
The company says its lander would be ready for the 2024 mission named Artemis-3. Boeing's plan, however, would depend on a stronger version of the SLS rocket called Block 1B.
According to current NASA plans, the block 1B version of the rocket would not be ready until 2025.
As part of Nasa's procurement process, however, two countries of various companies can be deployed for the Artemis-3 and Artemis-4 missions (Artemis-4 is scheduled to fly in 2025).
"Whether in the service of NASA 2024 or Mission Slot 2025, Boeing's approach maximizes the return on agency investment into past and current programs to enable the simplest and most likely way back to the lunar surface," the company said in a statement.
The lander will use key technologies from Boeing's CST-100 Starliner capsule designed for transporting astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
The Boeing lander could dock at the gateway, a planned space station in lunar orbit, but does not need it. Instead, it could dock directly on Nasa's Orion spacecraft for a simpler mission profile.
Last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the formation of a "national team" that would make a separate offer for the construction of the lander for 2024.
Bezos blue space company, in collaboration with aviation and aerospace giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper, has prepared a proposal for a three-tier lander.
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