Blue Origin will deal with the descent stage
No doubt landing in a crater, with a note through the door to tell you where your lander has been left...
With a scant few years remaining until the agency's 2024 boots-on-the-Moon goal, NASA has named the three US companies that will be dealing with the tricky human landing bit of the mission. The combined contract award of a cool near-billion dollars over the 10-month base period will be split between Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, …
In my part of the solar system, we usually get a text a few days after the package has been returned to sender due to inability to contact recipient.
I assume that means the minions at the delivery office or the drivers are unable to operate telephones.
Bezos and BO have little credibility with even getting stuff into orbit yet, let alone out of orbit and beyond. Strange decision all round, but I'm betting SpaceX will do more with their small cut than any of the others will. BO is all talk and little action, but they still stand more chance of getting off the ground than the SLS!
They've proven they can make an engine that works. That's a lot of hard work and should be applauded.
They have not launched anything at all into orbit.
Orbit is much harder than a suborbital hop.
Watch Hidden Figures, there's some pretty good explanations as to the difference.
Also it's a good film.
How many successful launches has SLS had? Has Superheavy/Starship had?
They have a reasonable plan going forward, and have demonstrated plenty of capability already. So they haven't flown an orbital class rocket yet, they have tested various parts of it quite extensively - to the point that the engines will be used by other launch companies with a long history of orbital flights.
Hops are space launches, they just aren't orbital.
Yes, orbital requires significantly more energy.
No plans aren't success, but they point that way.
No, hops aren't space launches
It depends on the height. With a 100 meter hop they definitely aren't but at 100km they definitely are. You only have to go 50 miles (80 km) up to get US astronaut wings.
BTW - While orbit is about "staying" in space rather than making a brief visit a rarely mentioned corollary is that there is nothing to stop an orbital class rocket steering straight up and reaching a height much higher that most satellites. As long as you don't exceed escape velocity and set your trajectory appropriately so the Earth is underneath you when you come back down, you can stay in space a very long time without ever being in orbit around the Earth.
"Blue have plenty of credibility"
Bezos certainly has plenty of credibility...but only in respect of paying staff poorly and treating staff poorly.
Regarding Blue Origin, they've already had their fair share of disasters and all they've basically done is suborbital flights, i.e. just repeating the Mercury project test missions. By any objective standard, that's not that much progress at all.
> Two of those will also be making use of United Launch Alliance's (ULA) upcoming Vulcan launch system
Both Blue Origin and Dynetics are critically dependent on the Vulcans. So really the race is between SpaceX and an outfit that have yet to lift anything off the ground.
LOL, just look at the difference in size between the SpaceX proposal and the other two
Add to that fact that the SpaceX one looks like it would be the only one to return all of the craft back to earth (And potentially reuse it)
About the only downside I see to the SpaceX proposal is that if that lift breaks down, you are royally buggered
Coming down a rope should be OK, but going up again may be another story.
Climbing a rope in a space suit is almost certainly very hard work because it would mean just using your hands, which are in pressurised gloves that are trying to keep your fingers straight rather than helping to keep them gripped round a rope. IOW, a ladder should be OK, but I wouldn't want to be the poor SOB trying to climb a rope all the way back up that monster, let alone doing it with a sackful of moon rocks over his shoulder. Having your feet in hard moon boots won't help either.
However, I suspect its highly unlikely that a Space-X lander sitting on the moon will look anything like that picture: something like that would have fallen over about 10 seconds after 'engine off'. Any lander will need a much larger and more widely spread set of landing legs than the Falcon 9 uses because its going to land on an unimproved mixture of rocks and dust, not a nice hard, level landing pad or the equally solid deck of a robot landing ship.
The tanks will be half empty at that point, and engines are heavy.
But yeah, I don't think those are the final landing gear either. Something more akin to the Falcon 9 legs seems likely.
The Dynetics video is quite nuts too, the orbital manoeuvre makes no sense at all - you don't burn radially unless you've no other choice.
something like that would have fallen over about 10 seconds after 'engine off'
Unlike the deck of a drone ship at sea the moons surface is not pitching up and down.
If you have servo driven legs you can drive them up or down to adjust for uneven and soft ground while the thrust from the landing thrusters is still decreasing.
Congress has a gun pointed at NASA's budget so Astronauts will be launching in an Orion on an SLS and returning to Earth in that Orion. SLS is not powerful enough to get to low Luna orbit so NASA needs a ride from near-rectilinear halo orbit to the Moon and back.
A fully refuelled starship in low Earth orbit cannot land on the moon and get back to the surface of the Earth. If Starship refuels in a highly elliptical orbit it can almost go to the Moon and back - but the fuel tanker has to be refuelled before it can reach that orbit. Add the stops at NRHO to dock with Orion to pick up and return the crew then a normal Starship cannot meet NASA's requirements.
The plan is to use a modified Starship with no flaps or heat shield. This Moonship cannot return to Earth but it can go to NRHO, land on the Moon and return to NRHO. A normal tanker Starship could get refuelled in a highly elliptical orbit, go to NRHO, refuel the Moonship and return to Earth.
The Moonship mission sidesteps the big certification problems that will otherwise delay a normal passenger Starship: Launching a crew with no launch abort system, re-entry with a new thermal protection system, getting velocity down to subsonic while falling like a skydiver, a belly flip to get the engines pointing down and a retro-propulsive landing. It will be a long time before NASA is happy to put a crew on a mission with all those exciting activities but in the mean time Starship tankers can RUD without killing anyone until SpaceX get it all working reliably.
"About the only downside I see to the SpaceX proposal is that if that lift breaks down, you are royally buggered"
After Musks latest tweets causing a $14B drop in Tesla shares and his "promise" to sell all personal property, I wonder what state of mind he is in right now and whether SpaceX would or could continue without him.
Most of the cash is going into repeating the Apollo missions, go there, wave a flag, come home. The 60s was an incredible decade for technology & space flight but this seems a bit limp after the 30 years of shuttle & 20+ of ISS.
Apart from SpaceX, a proposal that looks a lot like they could just aim a bit to the side and head to Mars thanks to the orbital tankers.
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