CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper is part of five teams selected by NASA recently to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for the agency’s Artemis lunar exploration program. The NASA contracts, which carry a potential value of up to $45.5M, further the agency’s goal to put American women and men on the Moon by 2024 as a step toward establishing sustainable missions by 2028.
When the space agency signaled its intention to partner with American companies on the development of a human landing system in 2018, Draper—with a heritage in human space exploration—participated successfully in the solicitation process in partnership with the five companies. The formal solicitation, to be issued at a later date, will provide the requirements for lander development and a 2024 human lunar landing.
According to NASA, the contracts are intended to “transport astronauts in a human landing system that includes a transfer element for the journey from the lunar Gateway to low-lunar orbit, a descent element to carry them to the surface and an ascent element to return them to the Gateway.”
The first time NASA wanted to send humans to the moon it turned to Draper to develop the guidance, navigation and control system. In 2018, NASA announced Draper as one of nine companies selected for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services contract, which will enable the future of space exploration and embark a journey to the moon once more. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and to inspire the next generation of engineers, Draper recently launched a website, Hack the Moon, that emphasizes the unsung heroes behind the moon landing.