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WASHINGTON — As NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first crewed landing on the moon, the agency released new details about how it will procure landers to enable humans to return to the moon in the 2020s.
NASA released July 19 a presolicitation notice for its Human Landing System Integrated Lander effort, part of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program. The notice included a draft version of a broad agency announcement, with NASA requesting industry comments on it by Aug. 2.
Draft - Solicitation - Details - NASA - Approach
The draft solicitation offers some new details on NASA's approach to developing landers capable of carrying humans to the surface of the moon and back, and do so in time to meet the 2024 established by the White House earlier this year and reaffirmed by Vice President Mike Pence in a July 20 speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.
NASA's plan, as described in the solicitation and supporting documents, calls for a two-phase approach for lunar landers. The first phase will support development of an initial, basic lander design for a "demonstration mission" in 2024, capable of carrying two astronauts to the lunar surface, staying there for six and a half days before returning to the lunar Gateway, which NASA has said will serve as the staging point for lunar lander missions.
Lander - Part - Artemis - Mission - Flight
That lander would be used as part of the Artemis 3 mission, the second crewed flight of the Orion spacecraft. NASA envisions the lander flown first to the Gateway on one or more commercial launch vehicles, depending on the configuration the company developing the lander selects for it. Two astronauts would board the lander to go to the south polar regions of the moon, while the other two astronauts would remain on the Gateway.
An option in the NextSTEP award would allow the company...
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