NASA has selected three companies in order to develop Human Landing Systems (HLS) in order to support feature crewed moon landings. Dynetics, Blue Origin, and SpaceX are bound to create their designs in 10 months, before a down-selection to one or two vehicles, which will fly uncrewed demonstration missions. The Artemis III missions will use one of these vehicles in order to land humans on the moon in 2024.
The three designs will be different from each other. They will use different numbers of stages and offering a balance between the schedule risk and performance. Blue Origin was awarded $579 million for its design. SpaceX was awarded $579 million for its design, and Dynetics was awarded $253 million. The significant schedule risk was associated with the Starship system. The Starship and Dynetics designs were better with the sustainable, reusable capabilities that NASA asked for in the long run.
The national team of Blue Origin
Blue Origin’s proposal influences get experience from Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper in order to produce three stage lander. Every stage, and every element, will launch separately abroad the New Glenn and Vulcan launch vehicles. The “National Team” has a secure connection with both the launch vehicles. New Glenn is operated by Blue Origin, and Vulcan uses Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine and Northrop Grumman’s GEM-63XL solid rocket boosters. Also, Lockheed Martin is the parent company of Vulcan’s operator, United Launch Alliance.
The vehicle from the Blue Origin can be launched integrated abroad the Space Launch System (SLS), but there is no plan so far on how to make an SLS rocket available for the launch of HLS elements. The lander should be capable of docking either to the Lunar Gateway station or directly to the Orion spacecraft in the lunar orbit. Jim Bridenstine stated on Thursday that it is likely that NASA will use the Gateway for initial landings.