One of three parachutes fails to open as Boeing Tests Space Taxi

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 6, 2019

Instead, the linked-up descent and ascent elements could be sent directly to low lunar orbit, using a beefed-up version of NASA's Space Launch System rocket.

The Boeing lander would be able to dock with the Gateway, a planned space station in lunar orbit, but it would not require it. Boeing says the HLS can either dock with the Gateway or dock directly with Orion to take astronauts straight to the lunar surface.

However, Nasa's procurement process allows for the use of two separate landers from different companies on the Artemis-3 and Artemis-4 missions (Artemis-4 is due to fly in 2025). The agency plans to select at least two designs next year for actual development, saying on its website, "the first company to complete its lander will carry astronauts to the surface in 2024, and the second company will land in 2025". Meanwhile, Blue Moon's design calls for a transfer stage, which will be built by Northrop Grumman. Blue Origin would lead the project and build the descent stage while Lockheed Martin handles the ascent stage and life support systems. Set on a small launch wad, the capsule had four engines that imitated an emergency landing in which the vehicle, on top of a rocket, would have to rapidly separate to take the scientists safely on the ground.

"Using the lift capability of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) Block 1B, we have developed a "Fewest Steps to the Moon" approach that minimizes mission complexity, while offering the safest and most direct path to the lunar surface", Jim Chilton, senior vice president of space and launch for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in a news release.

An artist's concept showing a Boeing lunar lander climbing into space atop the company's huge Space Launch System rocket.

The company's proposal calls for delivering the lander's Ascent Element and Descent Element to lunar orbit in one rocket launch to ensure it is tailored for maximum capability and crew safety. The Orbital Flight Test without crew scheduled for December 17, 2019, should not be affected by the anomaly. According to the company, the lander will be ready in time for the first Artemis moon landing mission in 2024, but it's unclear if the 1B variant booster will also be ready by then. NASA announced October 16 that it was in talks with Boeing to award a long-term production contract for the SLS, but that the Block 1B would not enter service until the Artemis 4 mission in 2025.

He argued that NASA should focus on SLS, including the Block 1B version, and Orion spacecraft, as well as a payload shroud for the SLS that could accommodate a lunar lander.

The aerospace giant is promising advances in the design that include innovations in its engines, composites, and automated landing and rendezvous systems.

Boeing said it successfully achieved an emergency ejection test of its CST-100 Starliner capsule, expected to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in the near future.

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