NASA courts industry insight

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NASA’s Constellation Program has selected five companies to independently evaluate NASA’s in-house design concept for a lunar lander that will deliver astronauts to the moon by 2020.

The companies - Andrews Space, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Odyssey Space Research - have been awarded contracts to participate in the 30-week study. The companies will evaluate the design, propose safety improvements and recommend industry-government partnering arrangements.

These recommendations will be used to increase the technical maturity of the existing design in preparation for the development of vehicle requirements.

The Constellation Program is building NASA’s next generation fleet of spacecraft – including the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew capsule and the Altair lunar lander – to send humans beyond low Earth orbit and back to the moon. NASA plans to establish a human outpost on the moon through a successive series of lunar missions.

‘These studies will provide valuable input for developing a sound set of requirements for the Altair lunar lander,’ said Jeff Hanley, the Constellation program manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. ‘Industry collaboration will provide insight for our planning and early design efforts for the spacecraft.’