Lockheed Martin unveils its lunar lander concept vehicle

U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, responding to NASA's plans to renew the exploration of the moon and Mars in the next decade, unveiled Wednesday a concept spacecraft able to land on the lunar surface. Having the ability to visit multiple sites with a reusable lander, such as this one presented by Lockheed Martin, supports many worldwide, commercial and scientific collaborations, in addition to NASA's sustainable exploration of the Moon. To fulfill its vision, the space agency wants to rely on private space enterprises to meet its hardware needs, and Lockheed Martin is taking this role very seriously. That craft will be sent into space aboard NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), still under development and created to be the most powerful rocket ever built.

According to a NASA statement, "the agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its worldwide partners are taking to team up with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon".

In conjunction with the Lunar Gateway, the Mars Base Camp Precursor Lunar Lander would take astronauts and 1.1 tons of cargo to the Moon's surface, according to a Lockheed white paper on the topic.

The lander uses NASA-proven technologies and systems from the Orion spacecraft, which has already flown two orbits around Earth.

Lunar lander, which is still in conceptual design phase, aims to provide reusable access to the moon's surface.

It would however need to be refueled between missions, potentially using water from the Moon's surface.

The Israeli Space Agency (ISA) announced Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with NASA to engage the American space agency in the first Israeli moon mission.

The US space agency said it plans to send astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 as the initial stage for a future trip to Mars - part of an official US policy set by President Donald Trump.

It's been more than 45 years since the last crew touched boots on the moon, and it might take at least another decade before this happens again.

  • Joey Payne