Blue Origin has announced that the Space Center. Johnson in Houston completed the creation of a full-scale mock-up of a new generation of American lunar spacecraft. Until the beginning of next year, the model will be the object of close study by NASA specialists and astronauts, who will develop practical recommendations for the final version of the project.
Unlike the lunar mission of 1969, when humanity, represented by Neil Armstrong, first stepped on the lunar surface, the lunar ship of the new generation will consist of two independent modules – a landing and a return (lifting) module. Lockheed Martin is developing the Ascent Element, and it will be delivered to the Moon in conjunction with the Descent Element developed by Blue Origin. It is this pair that is presented in Houston for study on a model by NASA specialists and crews.
We add that a lunar ship of two modules will be delivered to low lunar orbit by a spacecraft developed by Northrop Grumman – this is the so-called “Transfer Element”. Draper, also involved in NASA’s Artemis lunar mission, is developing avionics and an unmanned landing system for the project. Thus, the spacecraft will perform a demonstration (experimental) landing before the manned mission scheduled for 2024. In the future, the unmanned control system for the lunar spacecraft will help deliver bulky cargo to the lunar surface without the participation of astronauts.
The Lockheed reentry module, which will house the astronauts, relies on the design and control systems of the Orion spacecraft. This project has been developed for a long time, which makes it possible to quickly create an apparatus for a lunar mission on its basis, and also guarantees astronauts a familiar environment and simplifies training.
Blue Origin’s Blue Moon Lander is being built from the ground up, as is the BE-7 LOX hydrogen engine to power it. The engine successfully passes static firing tests and promises to be ready by the specified date.
The Northrop Grumman transport module is being designed based on the Cygnus space cargo module. Therefore, no surprises are expected with him. The full-scale engineering layout announced yesterday does not include the transport module. Separately, it is gratifying that, despite all this unpleasant situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the lunar mission is gradually moving forward.
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