Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin Space Venture says the aerospace team has completed its first “gated milestone” in an effort to develop a lunar lander for its flagship NASA-funded mission.
The milestone – known as a system requirements review, or SRR – involves specifying baseline requirements for missions, space vehicles, and ground segments of landing systems.
Blue Origin reported in a news release, “The design advanced to the NASA certification baseline review, followed by the lower-level elements SRRS and with the initial design phase.”
Blue Origin has called it a “national team” in the first phase of NASA’s human landing system development process. While Blue Origin is working on the system’s Decent module, Lockheed Martin is responsible for the Ascent module, Northrop Grumman is in charge of the transfer module that will take the lander into low lunar orbit, and Draper is working on the system’s avionics.
SpaceX and Dynamics are working on parallel efforts, and next year, NASA is due to select one or two teams to move to the next phase of development. For this first phase, the Blue Origin-led team is receiving $ 579 million from NASA, while SpaceX is in the queue for $ 135 million and the Dynamics team is receiving $ 253 million. Money is disbursed as each team reaches milestones like today.
Blue Origin’s Nick Patrick and Mike Good, former @NASA Astronauts, visited @NASA_Johnson To evaluate the engineering mockups of our national team – step one of our journey # Moon. We are fortunate for their experience to ensure astronaut compatibility. pic.twitter.com/IBN5szSSVY
– Blue Origin (@blueorigin) September 8, 2020
Public-private partnerships are meant to provide astronauts with their own ride to the lunar surface and to the back-to-back-to-built gateway space outpost of the Gateway Space Outpost starting by 2024. NASA’s Orion crew capsule, Lockheed Martin, led by a team, will be used to divert astronauts to and from the gateway.
Blue Origin said its team has tied up with NASA on dozens of design and construction standards. In addition, hundreds of health and human performance standards and requirements have been set.
“Completing this review allows the national team to move forward in its design, much of which is evolving directly from existing systems like Orion, and the review demonstrated maturity,” former acting NASA Administrator Robert Said Lightfoot, who presided. Review his current ability as Lockheed Martin’s vice president of strategy and business development.
The review board consisted of members of the Blue Moon Science Advisory Board of Blue Origin. Apollo 17 astronaut and former US Senator Harrison Schmidt, who serves on the science advisory board, said that a complex undertaking like a human lunar landing requires attention to thousands of details, and every possible contingency to think about is.
“I was very impressed by the depth of engineering and operational sophistication in the System Requirements Review,” Schmidt said in today’s news release. “The national team is working to draw lessons from the Apollo experience so that America’s next crew lunar landing succeeds and the precursor to continued human activity on the moon.”