The American space Agency NASA has picked the companies which will be engaged in the development of rockets and modules to send astronauts to the moon. The White house plans to 2024, must return to Earth for the first time since the lunar missions of the 1970s. this writes the BBC.
NASA commissioned the development of landers for the program Artemis (“Artemis”), two giants of the Silicon valley company Blue Origin founded by Amazon owner Jeff Bezosa and SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk. In addition, the program will take part an American company Dynetics.
The total contract value is estimated at $967 million, they must be implemented within 10 months. During this time, NASA will thoroughly evaluate each of the projects, and then long-term contracts will be signed with at least two of these companies.
“The provision of these contracts means that the US takes another step towards landing astronauts on the moon by 2024. Including to that wonderful moment when on the lunar surface for the first time set foot the woman, — said the head of administration of NASA Jim Breidenstein. For the first time since the era of “Apollo” NASA directly funded the development of a system of landing humans on the moon, and we have already signed contracts with companies that will work on Artemis”.
Winning in the tender, the company offered different approaches to solving the problem of landing humans on the moon.
Project Blue Origin, developed in cooperation with several other U.S. companies, which involves landing in three stages. In the first stage of the mission, astronauts need to keep a high lunar orbit to the lower; the second will be landing on the moon, and in the final stage, the crew will fly from the moon to return to Earth. It is proposed to use the New Glenn rocket (Blue Origin), and the accelerator Vulcan (developed by United Launch Alliance (ULA).
The company Dynetics proposes to build a universal module that will be launched with a rocket to Vulcan. According to the representative of NASA Lisa Watson-Morgan, this module is unique due to its layout: it is close to the surface to alleviate the astronauts landing on the ground.
Company SpaceX presented the project Starship at our own rockets Super Heavy. The prototype is being tested at the site in the town of Boca Chica in South Texas.
In the development process are the other key elements of the NASA lunar plan. Participants in the lunar mission will fly the Orion capsule on a powerful carrier rocket Space Launch System (SLS).
Lunar orbital station
NASA also plans to build a small lunar orbital platform-gateway, which would dock with Orion, and where it would be possible to assemble the lunar module before sending it to the moon.
Although recently it was reported that Gateway will not have time to become part of the mission “Artemis-3” in 2024, it must play an important role in the further implementation phase of the lunar project.
At a press conference, Bridenstine reiterated that the Agency does not refuse from plans on construction of a lunar orbital station. “We categorically necessary Gateway”, — he said.
However, as is often the case, the ultimate fate of the program, which will cost $35 billion just in the next 4 years, will define the Congress.
In the 60-ies and 70-ies in the framework of the program “Apollo” NASA sent to the moon 7 missions. “Apollo 13” was not able to land due to explosion of oxygen cylinder. The last manned mission was the “Apollo 17”. In December 1972, the crew explored the valley of Taurus-littrov and his South-Eastern edge of the Sea of Clarity.
At this time, NASA wants to gain a foothold on the moon for a long time.
“We’re not going back to the moon to leaving the flags and footprints, and then not to be there for another 50 years, said last year Jim Breidenstein. — We go for a long time to stay, with a landing modules, robots, Rovers and the people.”
The Agency acts according to the decree of the President of the United States Donald trump from 2017. By this decree the President sent American astronauts back to the moon, and in “other destinations”.
Indeed, the Moon can be potencijalnim a testing ground for technologies that will help in the future to carry out the landing on Mars.
In its plan, submitted to NASA, SpaceX offers to make an unmanned landing on the moon.
Dynetics promises a demonstration flight to test key capabilities of its descent module before the moon surface will be sent to the real mission.