Lockheed Martin unveils lunar lander concept meant send astronauts to the moon

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Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos' space venture, Blue Origin, has signed a letter of intent to cooperate with Germany's OHB Group and MT Aerospace on a future mission to the moon that'll use Blue Origin's Blue Moon lunar lander.

The lander's first configuration will be capable of seating four astronauts as well as carrying up to 2,000lbs of cargo.

The lander would work alongside NASA's planned Deep Space Gateway space station, allowing astronauts to visit the moon quickly and for long periods. It is created to carry out missions that would see it land on the surface of the Moon for up to 14 days before returning to the Gateway ready to be used again.

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'This lander could be used to establish a surface base, deliver scientific or commercial cargo, and conduct extraordinary exploration of the Moon'.

After each visit to the lunar surface, the lander would fire up its engines and fly back to Deep Space Gateway to return the astronauts, and refuel.

Lockheed's craft is proposed to be able to blast back off the moon's surface and return to base.

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"The Gateway is key to full, frequent and fast reusability of this lander", said in a statement Tim Cichan, the space exploration architect at Lockheed Martin Space who presented the lander concept at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

"Because this lander doesn't have to endure the punishment of re-entering Earth's atmosphere, it can be re-flown many times over without needing significant".

In part, WPI said, the research uses artificial intelligence to address ways to reduce or eliminate interrupted communications and guard against disruptions caused by space weather and other impairments astronauts and science mission spacecraft face. Much of the hardware will be modeled on Lockheed's future deep-space crew capsule Orion, which the company has been developing for NASA and which reportedly costs $20 billion.

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The Deep Space Gateway is a collaboration between the United States and Russian Federation to create a lunar space station that will act as a "gateway to deep space". The company offered no details on Wednesday about how it would move from the design phase to moon missions in this time frame.