Author Topic: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings  (Read 2924 times)

Online AncientU

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4806
  • Liked: 2885
  • Likes Given: 4050
NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« on: 05/03/2017 04:53 PM »
New RFI:
Quote
NASA is interested in the Moon again. This week the space agency issued a new "request for information" to the aerospace industry for cargo transportation to the lunar surface. This new opportunity appears to represent NASA's increasing willingness to reconsider the Moon as a destination for human spaceflight.

Offered jointly by the agency's science, human spaceflight, and technology directorates, in its new request NASA seeks to partner with the commercial sector to deliver scientific payloads to the Moon. "NASA has identified a variety of exploration, science, and technology demonstration objectives that could be addressed by sending instruments, experiments, or other payloads to the lunar surface," the document states. "To address these objectives as cost-effectively as possible, NASA may procure payloads and related commercial payload delivery services to the Moon."

Specifically, the request seeks opportunities as early as fiscal year 2018, running through the next decade for "agreed-upon" locations on the Moon, and the provision of power, communications, and thermal control both during the flight and on the surface of the Moon. Additionally, in the request, NASA says it may also seek the return of lunar samples to Earth.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/nasa-seeks-industry-help-with-lunar-landings-potentially-sample-return/

COTS Model?

Here's the RFI:
Quote
Lunar Surface Cargo Transportation Services Request for Information (RFI)
Solicitation Number: NNH17ZDA006L
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office: Headquarters
Location: HQ Code 210.H

Quote
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD), Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate are soliciting information under this Request for Information (RFI) to determine whether or not there are interested and available domestic vendor sources capable of meeting the identified requirements. This document is for information and planning purposes only and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition. NASA is seeking capability statements from all interested parties...
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=970ad3020c0f35f26bc0621fbf8f3b64
« Last Edit: 05/03/2017 05:01 PM by AncientU »
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
-- SpaceX friend of mlindner

Offline DreamyPickle

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 147
  • Home
  • Liked: 61
  • Likes Given: 15
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #1 on: 09/13/2017 09:45 PM »
From SpaceNews: NASA preparing call for proposals for commercial lunar landers.

Quote
In testimony Sept. 7 at a House space subcommittee hearing on private lunar exploration, Jason Crusan, director of advanced exploration systems at NASA, said the agency was developing a call for proposals for such services after evaluating the results from a request for information (RFI) earlier in the year.

“What we are now looking at doing is actually buying landed delivery services in the next fiscal year, of actually buying the first ability to land small payloads,” he said. “We’re preparing for the solicitation as we speak.”

I've tried to find out more about this but the RFI is very bare. The interesting parts:

Quote
The requirement is to provide a commercial launch and landing service on existing or forthcoming FAA licensed commercial missions to the lunar surface for NASA primary payloads, NASA secondary payloads, or NASA hosted payloads, with the potential to also procure data from any commercial lunar surface missions and/or return payloads or samples to the Earth.
Services will include:
(1) Physical and analytical integration of the NASA payloads or instruments onto the existing or forthcoming commercial mission;
(2) Transportation to the Moon for the NASA payloads or instruments, to include landing and surface access to agreed-upon locations on the Lunar surface; and
(3) Provision of "utilities" such as power, communications, thermal control, etc., during launch integration, launch and cruise phase, and perhaps for a limited period of time after landing.

Services could also include:
(1) The purchase of science or engineering data provided by contractor payloads; and
(2) The return of payload and/or samples to the Earth.

Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8173
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 254
  • Likes Given: 106
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #2 on: 09/14/2017 06:23 PM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3133
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 122
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #3 on: 09/15/2017 12:00 AM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8173
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 254
  • Likes Given: 106
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #4 on: 09/15/2017 10:26 AM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

IMHO If the XEUS is landing people in a cabin it is unlikely to be returning to LLO empty.

My reading of this situation is Masten Space will get the XL-1T to prototype the engines by flying on Earth & make money from a fleet of XL-1 cargo landers landing on the Moon. Then the Katana vertical thrusters will get a high priority. If there is a prototype ACES upper stage available Masten will test the thrusters on that alternatively they will use the Centaur upper stage.

ULA may get both a Centaur XEUS kit and a larger ACES XEUS kit.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3133
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 122
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #5 on: 09/15/2017 09:23 PM »
{snip}
Many people speculate that this is an evolution of Lunar Catalyst. Looking at the companies involved in that program all of them are offering expendable landers with light payloads (up to 100s of kg).

Blue Moon from Blue Origin should be able to land several tons of payload.

The XEUS lander from Masten Space plus ULA is designed to be reusable. Depending which version actually flies it may deliver 5 tonnes or probably 25 tonnes of payload to the lunar surface.
ULA actually has plans to do a Vulcan ACES XEUS lander (5m diameter tank with 60mt of possible prop). As a one way lander could land up to 60mt. As a reusable lander probably about 50mt and return to LLO empty.

So as Power Point landers go this one is significant based on a great deal of hardware in existance and other parts that have been prototypes. But still it would take years to do the detail design and build of an actual lander once Vulcan ACES actually flies in the early 2020's.

IMHO If the XEUS is landing people in a cabin it is unlikely to be returning to LLO empty.

My reading of this situation is Masten Space will get the XL-1T to prototype the engines by flying on Earth & make money from a fleet of XL-1 cargo landers landing on the Moon. Then the Katana vertical thrusters will get a high priority. If there is a prototype ACES upper stage available Masten will test the thrusters on that alternatively they will use the Centaur upper stage.

ULA may get both a Centaur XEUS kit and a larger ACES XEUS kit.
Possible since ULA has said they will be flying the Centaur (20mt prop size) based ACES on Atlas V before Vulcan flies. An ACES on Atlas V could have an interesting impact on other items especially if the lighter/smaller ACES has a capability for distributive launch. If that is also tested out on this early ACES then it is possible for the transport to LLO of ~10mt using 2 Atlas V launches. With 4 Atlas V launches then a XEUS ~4mt of payload round trip LLO and surface. With 6 Atlas V launches using ACES US a manned mission to the surface can be performed. Requires 2 Atlas V launches to be able to get a Starliner to LLO to dock with the Xeus lander.

So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8173
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 254
  • Likes Given: 106
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #6 on: 09/16/2017 10:14 AM »
{snip}
So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Cargo lunar landings can be sold as showing the USA is returning to greatness. Following on from the success of cubesats there are likely to be plenty of university professors and NASA scientists who will want their own lunar-cube. Expect lobbying at NASA, national and state levels.

I suspect that President Trump's two terms will be over before the USA gets a man back to the Moon. However many senators will desire the glory of a manned landing by NASA astronauts and building a Moon base when they are president.

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3133
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 122
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #7 on: 09/16/2017 04:49 PM »
{snip}
So it is possible but as in all things without funding it will not happen. The question that should be answered is  how much and where funding is coming from?

Cargo lunar landings can be sold as showing the USA is returning to greatness. Following on from the success of cubesats there are likely to be plenty of university professors and NASA scientists who will want their own lunar-cube. Expect lobbying at NASA, national and state levels.

I suspect that President Trump's two terms will be over before the USA gets a man back to the Moon. However many senators will desire the glory of a manned landing by NASA astronauts and building a Moon base when they are president.
NASA has interest. But not the funding. As long as the price tag for these missions is below $50M/yr then they will get funded because such low numbers of funding get little congressional visibility in the NASA budget unless they are a build up to a larger program. Example the ARM. As long as this program can remain in this low key category it has a chance to accomplish some significant advancement. It will surprise many by letting the commercial small lander companies be the lead and NASA just purchasing rides like they did for CRS. So expect SAA's to help them develop the landers' capability followed by purchase of rides to the surface for payloads (instruments/rovers).

After each capability level goes into operation the program is likely to expand to a new level of capability with new larger landers under SAA development and a corresponding larger budget divided into two parts. One for the payloads and purchase of rides (operational side) and the other to develop each generation of larger landers (development side). All of this is one of those COTS under the radar efforts by NASA to develop a generic transportation service that is lower in cost than what they could develop on their own that produces multiple providers of cheep small payload rides to the Lunar surface.

Edit: spelling
« Last Edit: 09/16/2017 04:51 PM by oldAtlas_Eguy »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4257
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 2853
  • Likes Given: 951
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #8 on: 10/10/2017 01:43 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3133
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 122
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #9 on: 10/10/2017 03:30 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9139
  • Liked: 1159
  • Likes Given: 771
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #10 on: 10/10/2017 03:39 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

You can ask Jeff Foust but I would think so. Blue Origin was trying to convince Congress that it should have a bigger COTS-like program for its Blue Moon lander proposal. I don't believe that there is currently any plans for that now (at least not under a CR).

Offline oldAtlas_Eguy

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3133
  • Florida
  • Liked: 1532
  • Likes Given: 122
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #11 on: 10/10/2017 03:57 PM »
My expectation is the standard delineation of contracts of an COTS like SAA for a milestone based development program for small landers followed by a FFP contract for additional operation landings. An incentive is no profit for failed landings but most of the costs covered even though a failure occurs. This is similar to the CRS structure. A similar contracting structure with similar incentives to succeed should work well with the small companies.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #12 on: 10/10/2017 05:20 PM »
Its good news for likes of Astrobotic and Moon Express. Both companies think they can survive on commercial payloads, NASA missions will give them a nice boost.

Masten are also developing small landers besides Xeus work, not a lot info on where they are at.

Blue's lander is probably to big for initial exploration missions but will come into its own when setup a base either robotic or human.

Having known delivery price per kg for various payload sizes should help NASA planners. These delivery prices are likely to come down in price.

NASA doesn't need to design every payload, its probably better to buy services.  Power is good example, NASA asks for price per kwhr at lunar south pole, how commercial suppliers deliver it is upto them. The same goes for communication.

Offline yg1968

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9139
  • Liked: 1159
  • Likes Given: 771
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #13 on: 10/10/2017 05:22 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2m2 minutes ago

Ben Bussey, NASA: hope to get RFP out for commercial lunar transportation services by end of year; payloads to follow. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/917746693969514497
The question is this the corresponding RFP to the earlier RFI for small landers for scientific payloads?

You can ask Jeff Foust but I would think so. Blue Origin was trying to convince Congress that it should have a bigger COTS-like program for its Blue Moon lander proposal. I don't believe that there is currently any plans for that now (at least not under a CR).

I asked Jeff Foust and he said smaller than Blue Moon's capacity.

Online savuporo

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5172
  • Liked: 969
  • Likes Given: 344
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #14 on: 10/10/2017 07:16 PM »
It will be real nice if this is sized for all operational and remotely applicable US launchers, including Antares.
Orion - the first and only manned not-too-deep-space craft

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4257
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 2853
  • Likes Given: 951
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #15 on: 10/11/2017 02:36 PM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Melissa Sampson, ULA: with ACES upper stage and distributed launch, can deliver 12 metric tons to lunar surface with XEUS lander. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/918094293482524672

Offline envy887

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2707
  • Liked: 1247
  • Likes Given: 778
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #16 on: 10/11/2017 05:18 PM »
It will be real nice if this is sized for all operational and remotely applicable US launchers, including Antares.

Antares 232 (which hasn't yet flown) can get 1530 kg to TLI, which is roughly 300-500 kg of payload to the lunar surface. Certainly enough to be interesting.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8173
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 254
  • Likes Given: 106
Re: NASA seeks industry help with lunar landings
« Reply #17 on: 10/12/2017 02:22 AM »
Quote
Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust 2h2 hours ago

Melissa Sampson, ULA: with ACES upper stage and distributed launch, can deliver 12 metric tons to lunar surface with XEUS lander. #leag2017

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/918094293482524672

I assume this 12 metric ton payload is with an expendable XEUS and refuelling at LEO but not at the Deep Space Gateway.

Tags: