News ESA's New Lunar Lander

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ESA: "Next step for ESA’s first Moon lander".

Mission description: land autonomously with pinpoint precision near the Moon’s south pole, a region full of dangerous boulders and high ridges. The aim of ESA’s proposed precursor is to probe the moonscape’s unknowns and test new technology to prepare for future human landings.

The first mission to visit the south polar region of the Moon took a significant step forward today when a further study contract was signed with EADS-Astrium in Berlin, Germany.

The mission aims to land in the mountainous and heavily cratered terrain of the lunar south pole in 2018. The region may be a prime location for future human explorers because it offers almost continuous sunlight for power and potential access to vital resources such as water-ice.

To reach the surface safely, the lander must precisely navigate its way to a mountain peak or crater rim, carefully avoiding boulders and steep slopes before gently setting down to take in one of the most spectacular views in the Solar System.

The Moon is a favoured target for the human exploration missions outlined in the ‘Global Exploration Strategy’ by 14 space agencies around the world. The strategy supports international space exploration and calls for further studies of the Moon and Mars – places where humans will one day live and work.


18-month effort begins in Berlin today.

The contract was signed by Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight, and Michael Menking of EADS-Astrium, in the presence of Peter Hintze, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

"It is a great pleasure to see progress being made in Europe in the field of space exploration relying on key technologies developed for human spaceflight," affirmed Mrs Di Pippo.

"As we prepare ourselves to join the US, Russia and Japan in the decision to utilise the International Space Station for 10 more years and beyond," she added, "we are preparing the next steps and we are working to position Europe at the level of its competences and capabilities within the global exploration undertaking.

"With a strong and successful presence in low orbit, the Moon is the next natural goal on our common path to further destinations.

"Europe is actively and successfully present in these global projects, like ISS and exploration, which contribute to affirm our role as a modern, dynamic and innovation-driven continent."

"The proven capabilities of the Automated Transfer Vehicle as a technology demonstration are representative of Astrium’s skills and experience in automated rendezvous and docking procedures," stated Dr Menking, Astrium’s Senior Vice President Orbital Systems and Space Exploration.

"The concept of the new study is based on the technologies of ATV and this unique expertise will enable us to develop the key technologies; it would not be possible to envisage landing a robotic vehicle on the Moon without them."


From a design concept to hardware reality.

The start of this ‘Phase-B1’ study is an important milestone because now, after the preliminary planning and feasibility studies, the mission’s design will be continued under the leadership of EADS-Astrium Bremen and some of the key technologies will be developed and tested for the first time.

First, the most recent topographic data covering the Moon’s south pole will be analysed in detail to find the promising landing sites. The target area is poorly understood and only now are we are beginning to receive the information needed to consider landing and operating a mission there.

Then, the robotic lander will be designed down to the level of its various subsystems, such as propulsion and navigation.

The contract will culminate in a ‘Preliminary System Requirements Review’ in 2012, which will provide the basis for the final design of the mission and lander.

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Astrium investigates automatic landing at the Moon’s south pole.

• ESA awards new Lunar Lander study contract valued at €6.5 million

• Mission design for a Moon Lander, carrying an automated vehicle, to the south pole of the Moon

• Hardware testing of propulsion and navigation systems

• Precursor to a meaningful participation in future human Moon exploration

Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has won a new competitive contract from the European Space Agency (ESA), as a follow-up to the Next Exploration Science and Technology (NEXT) study to develop a Lunar Lander. The Lunar Lander Phase B1 study will aim to complete the mission design for landing an automated vehicle near the south pole of the Moon. The new contract, valued at €6.5 million with a significant contribution from Germany, will see the study run for 18 months to the end of 2011. The final result of the study will be a fully defined mission concept and a detailed design of the landing vehicle and Moon rover.

The study will consolidate the system design concept – together with an initial design for the landing module and the essential technologies for an automatic, soft and precise landing. Other aspects of the study include testing engine hardware components and navigation sensors using equipment capable of recreating a realistic lunar environment. The Phase B1 study will confirm the Lunar Lander’s overall cost and schedule as a basis for a decision on the financing of the full mission at ministerial level at the next ESA Council Meeting.

Following this decision and once the Phase B1 study is complete, ESA will then be able to move on to the next step of the programme by issuing a contract for the development, construction and testing of the Lunar Lander.

“The proven capabilities of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) as a technology demonstration are representative of Astrium’s skills and experience in automated rendezvous and docking procedures. The concept of the new study is based on ATV technology and this unique expertise will enable us to develop the key technologies required for the Lunar Lander. It would not be possible to envisage landing an automated vehicle on the Moon without them.”, said Dr. Michael Menking, Astrium’s Senior Vice President, Orbital Systems and Space Exploration, when the contract was signed on 16 September in Berlin.

“It is a great pleasure to see progress being made in Europe in the field of space exploration relying on key technologies developed for human spaceflight.”, affirmed Mrs. Di Pippo, ESA Director for Human Spaceflight.

“As we prepare ourselves to join the US, Russia and Japan in the decision to utilize the International Space Station (ISS) for ten more years and beyond, we are preparing the next steps and we are working to position Europe at the level of its competences and capabilities within the global exploration undertaking. With a strong and successful presence in LEO, the Moon is the next natural goal on our common path to further destinations. Europe is actively and successfully present in these global projects, like ISS and exploration, which contribute to affirm our role as a modern, dynamic and innovation-driven continent.”, she added.

There are many technological challenges to be met in planning to place an automated vehicle on the Moon. Essential to its soft and precise landing are advanced technologies such as an autonomous navigation system and a sophisticated propulsion system.

After landing, the Moon rover will leave the landing module and start to explore the surface. At the same time, a variety of stationary instruments will start to record experimental data. This research stage of the mission is expected to last between six and eight months.

You can download the lunar lander animation on: www.astrium.eads.net/en/media-library/animation-lunar-lander.html

About Astrium.

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and Astrium Services for the development and provision of secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, geo-information products and services, and navigation services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of €42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119, 000.

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BBC News: "Europe plans large lunar lander".
 
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Lunar lander firing up for touchdown. ESA.

5 March 2012
Europe’s ambition of touching down at the Moon’s south pole by 2018 has been boosted by recent test firings of the craft’s thrusters. The robot lander will prove new techniques for sending humans to the Moon and assess lunar hazards.

http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMSEF7YBZG_index_0.html

N.
 

fsci123

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Yay keep on going esa its always good to see friends in space...
 

MaverickSawyer

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That's a test nozzle. Those are designed for testing the engine's internal geometry for combustion stability. They will use a much more advanced and lightweight nozzle for flight hardware.
 

N_Molson

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Wow. That would be great for ESA to achieve this.

:hailprobe:
 

C3PO

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Surveyor MK II, sweet! :thumbup:
 

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Spaceflight Now: ESA lunar lander shelved ahead of budget conference:
A European robotic lunar lander has been shelved during a budget-setting meeting of senior government ministers which began Tuesday, according to German space officials who said the project will be set aside in favor of launcher development, Earth observation, space station operations, and the joint ExoMars mission with Russia.

The moon lander was a top priority for Germany, which hoped to secure funding from other European Space Agency member states during a two-day conference of top government ministers in Naples, Italy.

"The problem with lunar lander is that we have not found enough money to do it," said Johann-Dietrich Woerner, chairman of the executive board of DLR, the German Aerospace Center. "We found enough countries, but not enough money. There are several smaller countries very much interested, but the big countries did not find enough money."

Germany was proposing an investment of 100 million euros, or about $128 million, to finish the design of the lunar lander, which was due to launch in 2018.

"We are very upset about that because lunar lander was a project which we tried to support and tried to convince other member states to support," Woerner told Spaceflight Now on the eve of the Ministerial Council, in which representatives of ESA's 20 member states set spending for the next few years.

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