NASA‘s longtime space contractor lockheed martin has debuted a moon lander concept that could put humans on the moon’s surface by 2024. four years earlier than first planned, the colorado-based company has a plan that would tap key projects already in the works by NASA’s human space exploration experts, including the orion spacecraft, a planned mini space station orbiting the moon and a new lunar lander.
the vehicle consists of two elements: a lander that can travel down to the ground, and an ascent vehicle that can lift astronauts off the moon’s surface. the design uses a lot of elements from orion, a crew capsule that lockheed has been working on for the last decade. internal equipment, flight computers and life support systems can also be incorporated into the new lander.
the ascent portion will use engines derived from a cylindrical piece of hardware called the orion service module offering it power and support during flight. according to this design, the ascent vehicle — which must work to transfer astronauts off the surface of the moon — will also have some elements that have seen spaceflight before
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