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Thursday, January 14, 2021

NASA's Choice of Moon Landers

Fascinating decision process/ You have three choices, and how do you move forward with a choice?  Goals, values, risks?  

NASA Will Choose One of These 3 Landers to Send Americans Back to the Moon

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez -Jan 14, 2021   in SingularityHub

America’s going back to the moon. It’s been over 50 years since the Apollo missions, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon in 1969. Both NASA and the current administration have decided it’s high time people walked on the moon again—this time, importantly, those people won’t just be men.

The timeline has shifted a few times—NASA initially set a target of 2028, which Vice President Pence asked the agency to push up to 2024. 2024 now seems unlikely, despite Pence urging NASA to meet the deadline “by any means necessary.”

Though it’s uncertain when Americans will walk on the moon again, there will soon be some certainty around how they’ll do so, as NASA will choose a new moon lander design in February. At present, the other components for a moon mission have already been chosen: the Space Launch System will be the most powerful rocket the agency has ever built, and the Orion spacecraft has been around since the Constellation missions started in 2005. But NASA wants an updated lunar lander, the vehicle astronauts will use to leave the spacecraft and actually, as its name implies, land on the moon.

In April 2020, the agency award a total of $967 million in contracts to three different private companies, giving them less than a year to come up with a lander design. Now the time has almost come to pick one of those three. Here are the contenders.  ... " 

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