NASA is seeking landing system concepts that can support its goals of sending astronauts to the moon in 2024 and achieving sustainability on the lunar surface by 2028 through the Artemis program.
The agency said Monday that it intends to issue multiple awards and select the first lander to complete development and demonstration efforts for lunar deployment in 2024. The second company to finish work will have the chance to send its lander the following year.
The final request for proposals follows two prior drafts and complies with industry-submitted recommendations such as reducing the number of deliverables and removing the refuelability requirement for lunar landers.
Lisa Watson-Morgan, NASA’s Human Landing System program manager, said that while the agency is open to deploying a refuelable landing system, its timeline warrants flexibility to “encourage innovation and alternate approaches.”
The agency plans to conduct separate launches for the crewed Orion spacecraft and uncrewed landing system, which will meet in orbit through the lunar gateway.