Boeing is now the latest entry in the race to the moon, with the company that is currently building a rocket and a spaceship for NASA releasing its plans to travel to the moon. In a proposal delivered to NASA on November 5, 2019, the company detailed out their idea for a crewed lander to be able to fly the astronauts to lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. Representatives hint that the program leans in on experience gained on International Space Station, their Starliner, and the Space Launch System projects in collaboration with NASA.
Jim Chilton, the vice president of the Boeing Defense, Space and Security’s Space, as well as Launch division, said in a statement that the team had developed a plan, labeled ‘Fewest Steps to the Moon,’ that will offer a simple, direct approach to the moon. The’ is dependent on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), whose Block 1B has the perfect lift capacity suited for the project.
The space agency had called for and was accepting commercial plans for the moon mission since September 30, 2019, as part of Artemis program, which aims to land astronauts to the moon via the Gateway, a lunar orbiting station. NASA’s Orion capsule will also be used, alongside commercial cargo and lander spacecraft. Tug-like vehicles will be used to move the landers to lunar orbit and back to the station, all expected to be successful by the 2024 deadline.
Boeing’s design, however, will be able to carry itself to the moon and back to the Gateway without the transfer vehicle, reducing the cost of designing additional spacecraft and simplifying the landing process. The lander will also be capable of docking directly with the Orion or the Gateway, simplifying the mission further. Boeing is also in the process of developing the Block 1 rocket, which will be used for an uncrewed test flight with the Orion though a more powerful variant of the rocket, Block 1B, will be used in the actual mission.
Boeing spokesperson Jerry Drelling said in an email to Space.com that the company is working with Intuitive Machines in the development of the lander’s engine, which is already testing the prototype of the engine. The engine will use methane and oxygen for fuel, different from the conventional hypergolic systems.
NASA is currently working with Northrop Grumman to build a habitat module for the astronauts, the Canadian Space Agency to build a robotic arm and Maxar to provide the Gateway’s propulsion element. Among Boeing’s other projects are the Gateway prototype, the core stage for the SLS, and an uncrewed test flight of its crew capsule, the Starliner.
This post was originally published on Food and Beverage Herald