NASA Expected To Award Contracts In Spring
Boeing, through its Space Exploration division, submitted a
proposal to NASA last week for Altair lunar lander design support.
NASA is expected to award multiple contracts this spring.
The lunar lander, part of NASA's Constellation program, will
launch aboard the Ares V heavy-lift rocket and provide astronauts
with life support and a base for exploration missions. Altair will
also return the crew to the Orion spacecraft that will transport
the astronauts back to Earth.
The Altair Conceptual Design Contract calls for NASA-directed
engineering tasks to support evaluation of conceptual designs,
maturation of the vehicle design, and preparation of products for
system-requirements and system-definition reviews.
"Boeing is uniquely positioned to provide great design support
now, as well as to support Altair development, test and evaluation
when the time comes," said Keith Reiley, lunar lander project
manager for Boeing. "Our ability to transition a skilled space
shuttle work force ensures we can distribute the necessary
expertise where it is needed as NASA transitions from the shuttle
program to Constellation. We plan to support NASA with a local core
team, enterprisewide specialty engineering experts, and a range of
suppliers, including small and innovative high-tech companies."
The Altair lunar lander is envisioned with two stages: The
descent stage will house the majority of the fuel, power supplies,
and breathing oxygen for the crew. The ascent stage will house the
astronauts, life-support equipment, and fuel for the ascent stage
motor and steering rockets.
The lander is intended to carry a crew of four and be able to
stay on the moon for up to six months. Altair will be capable of
landing with 15 to 17 metric tons of dedicated cargo. The first
crewed flight is scheduled for 2020.
As ANN reported, NASA issued its request for
proposal on January 28 and will manage the Altair Conceptual Design
Contract out of Johnson Space Center in Houston.