Lockheed Martin unveils concept spacecraft that can land on lunar surface

Lockheed Martin unveils concept spacecraft that can land on lunar surface

Lockheed Martin unveils concept spacecraft that can land on lunar surface

And little over a decade after its founding, it put men on the moon for the first time.

Ahead of this however NASA wants to send astronauts in 2023 on an eight-day trip around the Moon aboard the Orion, a Lockheed Martin spaceship.

It would use NASA's planned Deep Space Gateway space station as a "mothership".

The agreement was signed in Bremen, Germany during the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) and the world space week, which is marked in Israel in a variety of events. The aim is to develop "an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and global partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities".

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An artist's illustration of Lockheed Martin's proposed moon lander attached to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a small space station that NASA aims to start building in lunar orbit in 2022.

Among the plan's strategic objectives, NASA calls for returning US astronauts on the surface of the moon.

The massive lander is a single-stage reusable system capable of accommodating a crew of four and 2,000 pounds of cargo on the surface of the Moon for up to two weeks.

Lockheed Martin's concept lunar landing craft, created to shuttle between the moon's surface and the orbiting "Lunar Gateway", was unveiled at the World Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany.

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Lockheed says that it will be re-using some of the technology developed for NASA's Orion deep space exploration vehicle including avionics, life support, and communications and navigation systems, to reduce cost and development time for the lander. According to a lunar mineralogical map released by NASA past year, water is present nearly everywhere on the moon's surface, albeit in minute amounts.

The hope is the design can be applied to future missions to Mars, as well.

Lockheed's lunar lander will serve as a precursor to an even more ambitious spacecraft: a Mars lander.

Blue Origin is also developing its New Shepard rocket for short space tourism trips and a heavy-lift launch rocket called New Glenn for satellite launch contracts.

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