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Boeing Submits Proposal To NASA For Building Lunar Lander

Boeing has submitted its proposal to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for a lunar lander that could be launched atop the company’s powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Boeing is a company that manufactures airplanes, satellites, rotorcraft, rockets, telecommunications equipment, and missiles. Boeing has submitted its proposal merely two weeks after a team led by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space venture unveiled its plans for a lunar lander. NASA’s Artemis program is planning to send astronauts to the moon in Orion capsules as early as 2024. According to reports, November 6 is the deadline for submissions. The US space agency is expected to select at least two proposed landing systems by January next year for further development. The purpose behind selecting two separate teams is that they would build landers for moon missions in 2024 and 2025.

NASA aims to send astronauts to the moon in an Orion capsule atop an SLS rocket. After the capsule docks with the Gateway, often referred to as Lunar Gateway, the astronauts would be transferred to a lander that would take them to the lunar surface. Boeing says the integrated Human Lander System (HLS) is designed to do this in the ‘fewest steps’ possible. This HLS can either dock with the Lunar Gateway or dock directly with Orion to take astronauts straight to Moon. The descent stage and ascent stage can be launched on one rocket. Boeing said that its lander would sue a beefed-up version of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket to directly send linked-up descent and ascent elements to low lunar orbit.

Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to build the ‘Blue Moon’ lander’s transfer stage. The ascent stage and life support system would be handled by Lockheed Martin and the descent stage would be built by Blue Origin. The privately-funded aerospace manufacturer would also lead the project. Details about how the lander might be assembled at Gateway and launched are not yet known. Boeing said its design has new innovative engines, rendezvous systems, and composite and automated landing.

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Bruce Townsend

I am a Ph.D. astrophysicist, Associate Editor, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. I’ve written, online, and in print, for Air & Space, Astronomy, Ars Technica, Discover, Drone360, Gizmodo, Popular Mechanics, and Washington.

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