Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

Lockheed Martin's Lunar Lander Seats 4 Astronauts

Lockheed Martin's Lunar Lander Seats 4 Astronauts

NASA will grant SpaceIL access to its Deep Space Network communication services, and its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - now orbiting the Moon - will try to capture images of the Israeli spacecraft during its landing.

The spacecraft, known as the Mars Base Camp Precursor Lunar Lander, would use the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway as its home base, which NASA said will start building near the Moon in 2022, Space.com reports.

"NASA called on the industry for new and innovative approaches to advance America's goal of bringing humans back to the moon and establishing a sustainable and enduring presence there", stated Lisa Callahan, the vice president and general manager of Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin.

The lander's first configuration will be capable of seating four astronauts as well as carrying up to 2,000lbs of cargo. According to a lunar mineralogical map released by NASA past year, water is present nearly everywhere on the moon's surface, albeit in minute amounts.

Lockheed Martin's design will remain at the Deep Space Gateway until astronauts need to be taken to the moon.

"The Gateway is key to full, frequent and fast reusability of this lander", said Tim Cichan, space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin Space, who presented the lander concept at the International Astronautical Congress. Much of the hardware will be modeled on Lockheed's future deep-space crew capsule Orion, which the company has been developing for NASA and which reportedly costs $20 billion.

"I'm thrilled to extend progress in commercial cooperation we've made in low-Earth orbit to the lunar environment with this new agreement with the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Lockheed Martin's concept lunar landing craft, created to shuttle between the moon's surface and the orbiting "Lunar Gateway", was unveiled at the World Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany.

"The next logical step in this path is a return to the Moon", the company said in a statement.

The Israeli Space Agency (ISA) announced Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with NASA to engage the American space agency in the first Israeli moon mission.

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