Home / Science / NASA inaugurates the competition for the construction of human rated lunar countries – Spaceflight Now

NASA inaugurates the competition for the construction of human rated lunar countries – Spaceflight Now

Artistic representation of a multilevel lunar module for humans. Credit: NASA

Enterprises have until 1 November to submit to NASA proposals for a human-rated lander that may be ready to move astronauts to the lunar surface by the end of 2024, and the agency leaves the option open to contractors to develop a submersible that bypasses the planned gateway mini-space station in orbit for at least the first landing attempt.

The Lunar Landing or Human Landing System is Critical for the Trump Administration's Goal to Return NASA named its efforts after Artemis, twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, after Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech on 26 May. March had announced the goal for 2024.

NASA has also eased the reusability requirements of early lunar countries. NASA will eventually reuse Lander on missions that will transport astronauts between the lunar surface and the Gateway space station in lunar orbit, where the spacecraft could be refueled for multiple landings.

And NASA has limited the time for companies to submit their proposals to a month.

"Thirty days," said Marshall Smith, NASA's Director of Human Moon Exploration Programs. "We know it's crazy, but I suppose it's 2024. So we're all working very fast, I'll say that what we did between March 26 and today would probably have taken two years. "For HLS, every action we've taken has been streamlined to reach the surface of the Moon by 2024," said Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager of the lander program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville , Alabama.

There is little time left, and NASA does not plan to carry out an unmanned demonstration of the lander without astronauts on board before committing a human crew to a landing attempt.

NASA's Security Advisory Council for Air and Air Space has warned against this strategy, and during a public session in September, the panel suggested that NASA and its contractors "take an unscrewed test of the Human Landing System should be considered as an important risk reduction measure before the first mission with crew.

NASA Approaches Artemis The program's first lunar landing mission, which targets a landing near the Moon's South Pole, includes several elements. First, in 2022 and 2023, at least two components of a new lunar orbit of a mini space station called Gateway should be launched to generate power, propel, and provide space for astronauts.

Components of a Human-Rated Lunar Orbit Lander would launch next, possibly with several missiles, to dock at the gateway, where the parts would be robotically assembled into a complete spaceship. The lander will likely contain two or three elements, such as a transfer vehicle traveling from the elliptical orbit of the gateway around the moon to a closer distance, a descent module for the landing and an ascent vehicle returning to the gateway.

After a landing counter, the 2024 Space Launch System heavy-lift missile launched an Orion Crew Capsule with four on-board astronauts toward the Gateway Station. After Orion moored at the gateway, two of the astronauts would transfer to the station Lander for the descent to the moon.

Prior to the 2024 Lander test, two test flights of the SLS / Orion vehicle are planned near the Moon and back – one without crew and one with astronauts on board.

It's an aggressive schedule, and some high-ranking NASA leaders have withdrawn when asked about the likelihood of crew landing by the end of 2024.

NASA published a final solicitation or comprehensive announcement from the agency to industry on September 30, looking for offers for a design, development, and moon-lander capable of transporting astronauts. Companies have until 1 November to submit their proposals, and NASA intends to select up to four companies by January to begin 10-month fixed-price design studies.

The call for tenders published on September 30 was based on two draft calls for tenders, after which industry representatives submitted comments and proposed changes before the final announcement.

"We aim to award the contracts in January 2020, and all of this is really necessary for us to set the 2024 timeline." Watson-Morgan said on the occasion of an industry day on "Human Landing System" on 3.

Watson-Morgan said NASA's assessment criteria for the HLS contracts will rank as most important the technical approach proposed by the contractors, followed by the overall price, and then the management approach.

In October 2020 NASA officials want to select two contract award winners from the design study winners who will continue to develop their human-rated lunar lands, and NASA will later select one for a 2024 landing attempt and one for a 2025 moon landing.

Become two astronauts expected to be on board the Artemis The first two attempts to land the program, including – like the NAS A regularly mentioned – the first woman to land on the moon.

Amongst other things, the Landers must have the following capabilities for the 2024 and 2025 missions: [1,965,222] At least 1,907 pounds (865 kg) of payload delivered to the lunar surface with a target of 2,127 pounds (965 kg).

  • At least 6.5 days on the lunar surface.
  • At least two spacewalks per mission for five spacewalks using space suits provided by NASA
  • At least 77 pounds (35 kilograms) of sample return capability with a target of 220 pounds (100 kilograms).
  • NASA will select one or both of the Mondlander developers to work on a better product. Sustainable "La Nder Design, a vehicle that brings at least four astronauts to the lunar surface, operating during the two-week moonlit night and supporting longer spacewalks. The more advanced lander may be ready to fly to the moon in 2026, and must use the NASA's lunar orbital gateway.

    In recent months, space agency officials have made progress to rationalize NASA's contracting practices and shave dozens of detailed requirements from the beginning. List this number at more than 100. The NASA's Lunar Landing Display includes 26 performance requirements that cover baseline levels such as reliability thresholds, landing accuracy, communication requirements, and the need for spacecraft windows.

    "After reviewing the comments, NASA has removed the requirements that industry has identified as potential speeding obstacles and has retained all of the Agency's security measures. "For example, the industry said that providing a large number of formal technical reports from a company would require a significant resource outlay and an undue timing risk. In light of this, NASA has developed a less formal insight model that is used to access critical contractor data while minimizing administrative overhead. "

    The artistic representation of the gateway in orbit around the moon with the power and drive element, a housing module and a sightseeing cargo supply capsule for ships and Orion crew. Credit: NASA

    It is up to the contractors to decide how to design their lander according to NASA requirements.

    "Reports are still valuable and necessary, but to jeopardize and facilitate the bulk of industry coverage and facilitate access to corporate systems to monitor progress throughout development," said Nantel Suzuki, Program Manager for Human Landing System at NASA headquarters in Washington. "In order to maximize our chances of a successful return to the moon by 2024, we will also provide NASA technical staff to contractors and encourage applicants to come forward with a plan to work together."

    NASA set the requirements for the lunar lander for the docking mission 2024 with the gateway. Instead, the Orion spaceship could dock directly with the lunar orbit lander before descending.

    "We are looking for innovative solutions," Smith said in a September 26 presentation to the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies. "We have studied this pretty closely and are looking for the best approach."

    Despite NASA's preference for a reusable lander, the agency decided to waive this requirement for 2024 and 2025 land emissions.

    ] "Actually, we needed to be reusable, but we got feedback from our contractors that … it could be one thing to build an ascension element that you say will move you to the moon, like five or ten times. But it's another thing to certify that this thing stays in space for 10 years to be reused and refueled, and it could be cheaper to build a new one, "said Smith.

    "We are leaving this game and this trade has expanded, but we will use reusability as much as possible as long as it makes economic sense and we can see how it impacts our sustainability. "

    The HLS contractors will also be responsible for the purchase of launch services to position their distance ecraft in the lunar orbit with the option to use the gateway as a staging point for the connection of lander elements.

    Ready-to-fly commercial missiles do not have the necessary lifting capability to send a single-launch lunar lander to the moon.

    According to NASA, any rocket selected to launch Moonlander elements must either be certified under the NASA Launch Services II Agreement or have completed at least three successful launches of a common launch vehicle configuration before launching the HLS hardware ,

    The Fleet US missiles currently available under NASA Launch Services agreements include the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy and Atlas 5 and Delta 4 of the United Launch Alliance.

    On request, HLS contractors can negotiate with NASA SLS contractors to launch lunar aircraft launches – perhaps in one piece – on a "SLS-derived commercial vehicle solution," NASA said.

    Uncertainties about funding also c According to NASA's Lunar Land Plans.

    In order to advance the Lunar Lions agreements, NASA currently expects the Agency to receive an additional $ 1 billion from Congress in the budget for 2020, which was requested by the Trump administration earlier this year Development efforts for the lunar module. The remainder of the $ 1.6 billion proposed by the White House for the Artemis program included money to meet the development plan for the SLS and Orion programs and to comply with the Trump Administration's 2024 deadline.

    NASA's lunar program was landing at a pace for a human moon in 2028, before Vice President Mike Pence called on the agency in March to extend that deadline by four years.

    The House bill for the 2020 budget adopted by the House of Representatives in June did not include any additional funding of $ 1.6 billion for the Artemis program. A budget law passed last month by the Senate Committee on Funds earmarked $ 744 million for the development of Lunar Lands, $ 256 million less than required by NASA.

    Responding to questions from the industry on October 3, NASA officials said: a A funding shortage for the Lunar Land Program could reduce the number of companies that can be selected for HLS contracts. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the $ 1.6 billion budget increase would be needed as a "down payment" for Lunar Lunar 2024, with the total cost of the initiative expected to exceed $ 20 billion.

    NASA officials were aiming for a moon landing with astronauts in 2028 before Pence's speech rescinded the 2024 schedule.

    "In this previous plan, the government wanted to buy an Ascension Element, a Descent Element, a Transfer Vehicle and a refueling module, and we would be the Integrator," Smith said. "We wanted to go out for each of these parts. We wanted to share the wealth, and everyone got a piece of the cake. They know how it works. "

    Smith said Pence's announcement on March 26 had upsurbed NASA's moon exploration team.

    Eventually, NASA decided to step down and give contractors more control over the designs of the Moon Landers supervising the development of a lunar lander, subcontractors could be commissioned to build the individual elements, or the transfer, descent and ascent modules could all be from the same company.

    The last Lunar Landmark request published on 30 September is in the contract language of NASA Appendix H. In May, NASA selected 11 companies in a previous announcement, known as Appendix E, to conduct design studies and prototypes of lunar landing technologies contracts, said Smith.

    Attachment E winners included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, Boeing, Dynetics, Lockheed M artin, Northrop Grumman, OrbitBeyond, Sierra Nevada, SpaceX and SSL, now known as Maxar.

    "You have been working with us since June and are working on the requirements we have set for Appendix H, as well as on all health and medical standards and any other requirements we may need to ensure that we can certify this for People, "said Smith.

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    Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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