NASA has released a new document unveiling the design of a lunar lander that can deliver large payloads such as a rover to the Moon. The document was released in order to help the agency's commercial spaceflight partners design and create their own lunar landers.
The agency's latest move was carried out through an initiative known as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). With the help of this program, NASA plans to use a new lander that's capable of transporting important equipment and other cargo to the lunar surface in the future.
NASA's Design For A New Lander Model
One of the lander concepts that NASA is currently working involves creating a mid-sized model that can carry the agency's new lunar rover to the polar regions of the Moon. According to the project's lead systems engineer Logan Kennedy, the lander will be able to carry heavy payloads without sacrificing its accurate landing capabilities. He noted that NASA plans to accomplish this through a simple design
"This lander was designed with simplicity in mind to deliver a 300-kilogram rover to a lunar pole," he said in a statement. "We used single string systems, minimal mechanisms and existing technology to reduce complexity, though advancements in precision landing were planned to avoid hazards and to benefit rover operations. We keep the rover alive through transit and landing so it can go do its job."
Publicizing Lunar Lander Designs
The design of the lander and its other technological concepts were presented in a document that was recently released by NASA to the public. It can be accessed through the NASA Technical Report Server. Every component of the lander was discussed in detail in the document. Some of these include its flight software, propulsion systems and guidance controls.
According to NASA, it decided to make the document available to the public in order to provide everyone with an opportunity to study and appreciate the technology behind its lander. More importantly, will help commercial space technology firms develop their own lander units.
Helping NASA's Commercial Partners
As explained by Kennedy, as NASA proceeds with new missions in space, it will need the help of its commercial partners. By making the designs of the lander accessible to anyone, NASA is hoping that existing and potential partners will be able to come up with their own lander concepts based on what the agency has already done.
"As robotic lunar landers grow to accommodate larger payloads, simple but high-performing landers with a contiguous payload volume will be needed," Kennedy said. "This concept was developed by a diverse team of people over many years and meets that need. We hope that other lander designers can benefit from our work."