Lockheed Martin’s experience with work on interplanetary spacecraft has contributed to its selection by NASA as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Lockheed Martin’s lander design (based on the McCandless Lunar Lander) has been a part of many space missions, including the InSight lander which recently arrived at the surface of Mars, and the Phoenix lander, which reached Mars earlier this year. Spurred on by the Soviet Union’s announcement last week to establish full-time facilities on the moon, NASA is encouraged in its efforts to learn more about the surface and beneath the surface of the moon and nearby planets such as Mars.
“We are excited to leverage our interplanetary lander designs and experience to help NASA build a new economy on and around the Moon, and beyond,” said Lisa Callahan, vice president and general manager for Commercial Civil Space at Lockheed Martin. “Lockheed Martin has built more interplanetary spacecraft than all other U.S. companies combined, including four successful Mars landers. With our expertise on Orion and the NextSTEP lunar habitat, we can maximize the value of CLPS for lunar science operations as well as the path forward to tomorrow's reusable human lander.
“We’re no stranger to commercial space business models, having built more than 100 commercial satellites and launched numerous Atlas and Titan commercial payloads,” Callahan added.
The McCandless Lunar Lander, named after NASA astronaut and space pioneer Bruce McCandless, can transport large payloads of research and equipment to help establish a full-time facility on the moon. The lander’s propulsive landing approach relies upon on-board radars and a set of rocket thrusters firing 10 times a second to slow to 5 mph before touching down.
“On our last 10 interplanetary missions for NASA, we delivered on or ahead of schedule, and on budget,” Callahan explained. “We want to assure payload customers who select Lockheed Martin can be confident that we'll deliver on-time and on-budget.”