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after lm: nasa lunar lander concepts beyond apolloAs this document is being compiled in 2019, NASA is once again planning a return to the Moon, and new lunar lander designs are being generated. Compared to Apollo, crews are projected to be larger (at least four per mission) and stay times longer (beginning at 6.5 days). However, it is expected that the landers will look much like the designs in this document because, as stated in the introduction, lunar lander design is a response to the simple physics that governs the tasks they are asked to perform. Design is also a living thing. New crewed lander designs will continue to emerge up until the point that humans return to the Moon, and even beyond. New players from different countries and commercial providers will create new designs based on new technologies and new requirements. Until some breakthrough technology or new physics principle is created, each lander will respond to the current physics of lunar landing. There may come a time, generations from now, when future engineers are paging through a digital copy of this catalog and reflecting on the early work of lunar lander designers. “Those Apollo guys were really smart, given that they started with nothing as a reference. The Lunar Module – now THAT was a great lunar lander design.”
Document ID
20190031985
Document Type
Special Publication (SP)
Authors
John F. Connolly
(Johnson Space Center Houston, Texas, United States)
Date Acquired
October 4, 2019
Publication Date
October 1, 2019
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
JSC-E-DAA-TN69151
NASA/SP-2020-220338
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
NASA Technical Management
Keywords
Altair spacecraft
Design analysis
Lunar exploration
Lunar landing modules
Manned space flight
Moon
Prototypes
Lunar module
Human space exploration
Lunar lander concepts

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