Lockheed Martin proposes a mega-lunar lander: 62 tons and an elevator
With the Trump administration setting lunar exploration as the principal human spaceflight goal in the near-term, NASA has begun devising a plan for how best to meet that goal. As part of this development process, companies have begun pitching ideas to the space agency’s human exploration program about how they could help (and why they should be funded). Some companies have talked with NASA privately about their proposed spaceflight hardware, while others have been more publicly forthcoming.
Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is one of the latter—the company is already building the Orion spacecraft for NASA to carry its astronauts into deep space and says it can extend the utility of this blueprint down to the surface of the Moon. The company’s proposal for a ‘crewed lunar lander’ is fairly ambitious. The 14-meter, single-stage spacecraft can carry up to four astronauts to the lunar surface, where they can stay for up to 14 days before the vehicle’s engines blast it back into lunar orbit.
This vehicle would be twice as tall as the Lunar Module used during the Apollo missions to the Moon nearly half a century ago. That vehicle carried two astronauts for short stays of no more than a few days.