Blue Origin Delivers the First Prototype of a Lunar Lander for NASA1st Sep 2020
Blue Origin, along with four other aerospace companies on the same team, have delivered the first version of their proposed moon lander for NASA Artemis mission. The mission is to send American astronauts to the Moon by 2024. This time, people intend to stay on the Earth’s national satellite and build a station there.
Blue Origin prototype for NASA Artemis mission
On August 9th, Blue Origin announced the delivery of its moon lander prototype. It has been sent to the NASA Johnson Space Centre for further tests. Blue Origin was not the only one working on this prototype. Other national team members include Draper, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin. Their joint contract from NASA has been estimated at $579 million.
The current prototype version is 40 feet tall and includes two essential architectural elements – the Ascent Element and the Descent Element. The first one is based on Lockheed Martin’s exploration vehicles. The second one is the brainchild of Blue Origin.
NASA will be testing this prototype in the next few years to ensure its functionality and fidelity. If further upgrades or modifications are required, the issue will be addressed by 2024.
Aside from Ascent and Descent Elements, necessary for delivering cargo to the Moon, the prototype includes a Transfer Element, which acts as a starter and keeps the vehicle on the required trajectory. This element is based on Northrop Grumman’s design. Draper provided the final touches of guidance and avionics for the current prototype version.
NASA plans to land people on the Moon for the first time since 1972, and most prominent aerospace companies, Blue Origin included, are going to be an integral part of this mission.