The European Space Agency has revealed plans to develop a lunar lander that would be used to carry cargo to the lunar surface. The lander is expected to support NASA Artemis missions to the Moon and will carry food, water, air, and other equipment for a crew of four.
As part of its support of NASA’s Artemis program, the European Space Agency (ESA) has announced plans to develop a lunar lander capable of transporting 1.5 tonnes of cargo to the surface of the Moon. In addition to being utilised to transport cargo for crewed missions to the Moon, the lander is expected to have the capability to serve several other mission roles.
In addition to serving as a transport for vital supplies for crewed missions, the lander would also act as “a survival kit” to allow crews to survive the long lunar night.
“In order to meet the challenge to survive the lunar night, we are advancing technologies in regenerative fuel cells and radioisotope power sources that can provide enough energy to power a household for a day with as little as one kilogram of equipment”, says Keith Stephenson, power engineer for the European Lander project.
The proposed lander will sit at 6 meters tall with a diameter of 4.5 meters and a mass on Earth of 8,500 kilograms. It will have the ability to transport 1,500 kilograms to the lunar surface and will be launched from the European spaceport in French Guyana aboard an Ariane 64 rocket.
However, before it makes it to the launchpad, the European Lander project has to make it through an “intensive study phase.” Once completed, it will be reviewed by ESA member states before the construction of the first lander is approved. If it is approved, the agency hopes to select the first payload to be carried aboard the lander by 2022.