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Boeing submits Artemis lunar lander proposal to NASA

06 November 2019

Boeing says the HLS can either dock with the Gateway or dock directly with Orion to take astronauts straight to the lunar surface.

The company says its lander can carry itself from lunar orbit to the surface without an additional transfer element, or "tug", as previously specified by Nasa.

SpaceX hasn't said whether it submitted a proposal, but last month the company's president, Gwynne Shotwell, said "we definitely want to land [Starship] on the moon before 2022".

But a design developed by Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman - unveiled by Bezos on October 22 - calls for what amounts to a three-stage lander: a so-called transfer stage to first lower the ship's altitude from Gateway's high orbit; a descent stage for landing on the surface; and an ascent stage, carrying the crew, for the trip back up to Gateway. NASA has been accepting proposals from private space corporations and is expected to choose at least two of them by January next year for development.

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It is not yet known how many companies submitted lander proposals.

Northrop Grumman, which already is under contract to build a Gateway module, would build the "Blue Moon" lander's transfer stage.

The aerospace company has submitted a proposal to NASA for an integrated Human Lander System (HLS), which it says will be created to reach the moon in the "fewest steps" possible. Blue Origin confirmed that its team, announced by company founder Jeff Bezos Oct. 22, had submitted a proposal to NASA by the November 5 deadline.

The lander is created to be launched as a single unit, rather than in separate modules that would be aggregated at the Gateway.

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Artemis has several components including the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a space station around the moon that would be accessed by the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle created to take astronauts beyond Earth orbit and capable of carrying up to six astronauts.

An artist's concept showing a Boeing lunar lander climbing into space atop the company's huge Space Launch System rocket. The Orbital Flight Test without crew scheduled for December 17, 2019, should not be affected by the anomaly. A second flight is planned to carry astronauts around the moon aboard an Orion capsule in the 2023 timeframe, following by the first Artemis moon landing mission in 2024.

Boeing says it can land astronauts on the Moon with only five "mission critical events" - such as launch, orbit insertion and others - instead of the 11 or more required by alternative strategies.

Boeing proposes using the giant SLS rocket now in production at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), arguing it has "unmatched lift capability that builds on proven flight components".

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Boeing said the design "includes innovations in its engines, composite and automated landing and rendezvous systems. Our teams across the program have made remarkable progress to get us to this point, and we are fully focused on the next challenge-Starliner's uncrewed flight to demonstrate Boeing's capability to safely fly crew to and from the space station".

Boeing submits Artemis lunar lander proposal to NASA