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Home / Science / NASA's return to the moon could include a reusable Lunar Lander

NASA's return to the moon could include a reusable Lunar Lander



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Somewhere in America's sprawling spacecraft, a newly assembled team of NASA engineers has begun designing a spaceship Return of the astronauts to the surface of the moon It would be the first visit of the Humanity since the glory days of the 1960s.

The country study group, as it c The first NASA NASA NASA NASA EVA Extravascular Activity, which has put forth its initial ideas in recent weeks – according to a NASA presentation of Popular Mechanics . The most exciting thing about this nascent work is that the new Lunar Lander will not be a one-and-done like Apollo 11's. This 21st-century lander will make a round trip.

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Introducing the reusable Lunar Lander

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A model illustration of the reusable Lunar Lander.

Anatoly Zak

In this presentation, the NASA engineering team announced its intention to construct a reusable crew cabin for the lander This part of the ship is called the ascent stage and is responsible for the return of the crew from the surface of the moon back to the lunar orbit (The descent stage is designed to bring astronauts safely to the moon, as well as Apollo's program would be left behind this level.)

With a reusable lander, the Lunar Gateway could suddenly be much multi-dimensional for scientists, engineers, and space nerds.

What Does not T The idea of ​​a reusable lander is the fact that NASA and its international partners already have a small stati on behalf of the lunar orbit which will be visited by crews at least once a year from the mid-2020s. The idea is that the lunar module would dock with this so-called Lunar Gateway and stay there while waiting for a new crew coming aboard the NASA spacecraft Orion from Earth.

With a reusable lander, the Lunar Gateway could suddenly be multi-dimensional for scientists, engineers, and space nerds alike. Instead of simply working aboard the Gateway in the Void of Space part of the Orion crew can board the lander and make an exit onto the lunar surface.

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Between Man and the Moon

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Lunar Lander from the Apollo 12 mission.

Getty Images NASA

While the idea for a reusable lander is logistically meaningful, there are some serious technical ones Challenges in the way, the gateway will rest in a giant egg-shaped moon orbit which, although good in some cases, is not the cheapest place to reach the lunar surface in terms of gas mileage. The NASA team accounted for as much as 45 tonnes for the entire Landing system ready, that's almost twice as much as the Orion mass.

The design team is also considering splitting the lander into three 15-tonne segments: the crew cabin with the ascent machine, the descent stage, and the spacecraft. The spacecraft would do most of the heavy lifting and push the lander away from its gateway port toward the lowest possible lunar orbit, where the descent would then take on braking maneuvers.

As a result, the expendable descent level that would arrive with each new Orion crew (as well as the ascent engine propellant) could have a minimum size while the spacecraft could be used for multiple ferry trips. Both potentially reusable components of the lander – the ascent stage and the spacecraft – could be fueled in the lunar orbit by a 22-tonne tanker that was sent from Earth.

Return to the Moon, Take Two

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Illustration by Altair Lander

NASA

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This reusable spaceship is not the first moon lander proposed since Apollo 11, the last crew mission to the moon, returned in 1972. In the early 2000s, NASA designed the impressive Altair Lander for the Constellation program, President George W. Bush's vision for the return to the moon and then to Mars NASA gave up Altair when the project was inaugurated Financial and Political Problems Ecraft was the main survivor of the now discontinued Constellation program, but without the lander, the four-seated capsule could only orbit the Moon.

In the intervening years, various aircraft manufacturers in the US, Europe and Russia tinkered on various Lander designs, mostly at their own expense and without government approval. The latest example was the Lander Proposal by Lockheed Martin which was published the beginning of the month.

However, what's different about this study is its support from NASA, and its design is being initiated under a broader multinational effort. While it is still uncertain who will pay the bill for humanity's return journey to the moon, several space agencies expressed optimism about their governments' financial support.

Of course, these early plans could change in the years of planning and development. But the Lander Study Group reusable spacecraft is another compelling piece of evidence that people are ready to return to the moon.


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