Lockheed Martin Unveils Their New Lunar Lander
In preparation for the return of astronauts to the moon Lockheed Martin today announced their new lunar lander.
This new lander design could be ready to fly as soon as 2024 if all goes well. Lockheed Martin is working to build the lander based on similar technology they are using for the new Orion spacecraft.
Unlike the lander design Lockheed announced last year, this version is not reusable. The lander has two main parts. A decent module and an accent module. Neither of which can be reused.
The descent module will be used to transport astronauts from the Lunar Gateway space station down to the Moons surface. After the astronauts are finished on the surface, they will jump back in and using the ascent stage lift off from the surface and dock back up with the Lunar Gateway.
“We’re going to need resources to make this happen and we’re going to have to work differently than we have before,” Lisa Callahan, vice president of programs and general manager for Lockheed Martin, said during a press conference at the Space Symposium. “But I think it really is feasible, and we’re super excited about it.”
Overall, it's an ambitious plan; the only issue is that even if Lockheed builds this lander by 2024, it's highly unlikely there will be a Lunar Gateway to use it. NASA and the US government is behind schedule on the construction of the Lunar Gateway station, and it may not be ready until 2030. It's far more likely a private space company will bring humans to the Moon before the US government.