PARIS — NASA has launched a request for proposals for a second human lunar lander for the Artemis program to affix the Starship lander underneath growth by SpaceX.
NASA launched the decision for proposals Sept. 16, practically six months after asserting plans for the Sustaining Lunar Growth (SLD) challenge and releasing a draft name for proposals for trade suggestions. The company set a deadline of Nov. 15 for receiving proposals with an award anticipated in Could 2023.
The chosen firm would develop a lander that will assist missions after Artemis 3, the primary crewed touchdown of the Artemis marketing campaign that will likely be performed by SpaceX no sooner than 2025. The profitable firm would perform an uncrewed touchdown adopted by a crewed touchdown no sooner than the Artemis 5 mission within the late 2020s, then be eligible, together with SpaceX, to finish for lunar touchdown service contracts for later missions.
“Work performed underneath this solicitation, along with present lander growth and research going down, will assist construct the inspiration for long-term deep area exploration,” Lisa today techs Watson-Morgan, supervisor of the Human Touchdown System (HLS) program at NASA’s Marshall Area Flight Heart, mentioned in an announcement concerning the launch of the decision for proposals.
In March, NASA billed Sustaining Lunar Growth today techs as fulfilling a dedication to Congress that it’ll have competitors within the general HLS program. today techs “I promised competitors, so right here it’s,” NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson mentioned on the March announcement of the challenge.
The profitable firm must reveal its lander can meet the necessities for a notional lunar lander mission known as a Polar Sortie Mission. That mission would carry two astronauts to the today techs lunar floor for a keep of as much as 6.25 days and assist 4 deliberate and one contingency moonwalk.
A later Polar Tour Mission would require the lander to move 4 astronauts to the lunar floor and keep there for 33 days. That mission would assume there are different belongings on the touchdown website, like a habitat the place astronauts would keep through the mission, and thus require just one roundtrip moonwalk from the lander to the habitat and again. Firms may also present how their landers might assist short-stay missions to areas apart from the south pole of the moon in addition to be used to move cargo.
The unique HLS competitors, received by SpaceX in April 2021, additionally included bids from groups led by Blue Origin and Dynetics. These firms protested the award to the Authorities Accountability Workplace, which rejected the protests three months later. Blue Origin then filed swimsuit in federal court docket, which dominated in opposition to the corporate, permitting NASA to proceed with SpaceX.
Neither Blue Origin nor Dynetics have formally introduced their intent to bid on the Sustaining Lunar Growth program, though Blue Origin does have an “Artemis Lander” placeholder web page on its web site.
It’s additionally unclear if Blue Origin’s companions on its “Nationwide Crew” that bid on HLS, together with Draper, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will be part of Blue Origin once more on the brand new competitors. Officers with Lockheed and Northrop have been noncommittal shortly after the announcement of the challenge in March, saying on the time they have been learning choices.
“We’re today techs taking a look at SLD. Clearly, it’s a possibility for us,” Robert Lightfoot, government vp of Lockheed Martin Area, mentioned in an Aug. 28 interview earlier than the primary Artemis 1 launch try. He mentioned the corporate had determined what firms it will work with on the proposal however wasn’t able to disclose them.