COLORADO SPRINGS – Lockheed Martin says it has developed an approach to land people on the South Pole of the Moon by 2024, but warns that the construction of necessary hardware must begin soon to meet this deadline. [19659002IneinemBriefingaufdem35Weltraum-Symposiumam10AprilgabendieVerantwortlichendesUnternehmensansiekönntenvorhandeneHardwareumfassendnutzenumKomponentenwieeineverkleinerteVersiondesMond-GatewaysundeinenzweistufigenMondlandefahrzeugineinembeschleunigtenZeitplanzuentwickeln19659002] While much of the detail need not be clarified, Lockheed proves that the basic elements of the plan demonstrate that the ability to meet the deadline set by Vice President Mike Pence on a March 26 speech by the National Space Council on 20 March, at least is technically feasible if it is a challenge.
"This is not the only way to achieve this," said Rob Chambers, Director of Space Strategy and Business Development at Lockheed Martin. He called the approach, which the company called "evidence of existence", that the overall goal was achievable. "The goal is to design an architecture that will take the needle from" Is this possible "to" Okay, how do we do it best? "Move."
Lockheed's plan deviates from NASA's previous approach after the Exploration Mission (EM). The company proposes to launch a "Phase 1
This is followed by EM-2. the first manned Orion flight. While NASA's current architecture would put this mission on a "free return" route around the moon, the Orion would fly in this plan to the gateway and dock there to check its systems to integrate this mission into a docking system. "It seems believable and reasonable that we could add the docking to EM-2," said Chambers. "It would allow us to test operations from the gateway."
Lockheed Martin's proposal calls for the development of a two-stage lunar landing craft with ascending and descending steps. The descent stage would be developed from the concepts of NASA, which were requested earlier this year by another part of the NextSTEP program. The ascent stage uses Orion components, such as the pressure vessel, and a built-to-print version of the drive system for the Orion service module.
The two lander stages would be brought separately on commercial carrier vehicles to launch Gateway until the beginning of 2024, where they would be paired. Tim Cichan, space research architect at Lockheed Martin, said that an alternative approach would be to launch them together on a single SLS.
In 2024, NASA launched the Orion EM-3, which involved four astronauts. Some of them would go aboard the lander – Cichan said the company is still checking how many people the lander can support – and going to the lunar surface. These astronauts would probably spend several days near the Moon's south pole before taking the ascent module back to the gateway and then boarding the Orion for the drive home.
While Lockheed Martin discussed the plan only 15 days after Pence's speech, work on the featured architecture began months ago. "We looked at what we could do the fastest," said Cichan, who said it would be possible by 2024. However, he warned, "It will be a challenge."
To reach the 2024 deadline, Lander hardware would have to start next year, Chambers said. "We have to make metal next year, which means tools have to be in house already, and I hope someone ordered a bunch of aluminum," he said.
He compared their development schedule with the Orion spacecraft for EM-3 NASA's plans are currently calling for the launch in August 2023. Work on the crew module will begin this fall to reach that date, he said. The landing stage of the lander, which was derived from Orion, would have to start production by the beginning of 2020 in order to be launched in early 2024. This would give enough time to be ready for a lunar surface mission before the end of 2024.  "By the end of this year, materials need to come to market to print what there is today that we can certainly use," he said.
The company rejected an estimate An accelerated approach would incur costs in part because it depends on a number of factors. Chambers, however, said it needed funding above previous budget projections.
"The current program can not be converted into a crew by 2024 without an additional crew for human exploration."
NASA also refuses to estimate how much an accelerated program is, much like the concept from Lockheed or an alternative architecture would cost. Industry estimates of the NASA Symposium would require between three and five billion dollars a year by 2024 to reach a landing. However, at present, NASA does not provide figures as it is working on amending its budget proposal for the 2020 budget year.
"We need to be ready by next week to take a consensual position in this position," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters at the April 9 Space Symposium. This work will involve coordination with the Office of Management and Budget and the staff of the National Space Council before submitting a proposal to Congress. "Up to this point, I do not want to put numbers on the table."