Colonization of the planets of the solar system will begin withthe development of the nearest celestial body, the natural satellite of the Earth - the Moon. The next stage in the development of projects for the exploration and study of the lunar surface was launched by a decree of President Trump on April 7, which outlines measures aimed at supporting companies working on the technologies necessary for the development of the resources of the moon and other planets.
NASA Space Agency has also expanded its circleparticipants of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) project, which is part of the Artemis program aimed at continuing manned flights to the Moon with a view to its further colonization. Masten Space Systems will participate in the CLPS project.
The CLPS program started at the end of 2018. The main objective of the project is to attract private companies to resume regular flights to the moon in the next four years. Nine private companies are participating in the project, including Firefly Aerospace, Astrobotic Technology, Intuitive Machines and Orbit Beyond.
Orbit Beyond, the largesta contract worth $ 97 million for the delivery of goods to the Moon, terminated ahead of schedule in the summer of 2019, and Astrobotic Technology and Intuitive Machines continue to work on the project and are committed to delivering the first cargo to the Moon next year.
In early April 2020, the CLPS project was includedMasten Space Systems, which received a contract for $ 75.9 million. Already in 2022, Masten is obliged to deliver 9 units of research equipment, whose work is designed for 12 days, to the moon using the XL-1 landing module.
Masten Space Systems ProjectThe XL-1 landing module was named Lunar CATALYST. Currently, only the main technical characteristics of the module are known. Dimensions of the device: height 3,5 meters and width 3 meters. Weight XL-1 2.4 tons. The module is equipped with four engines. The device is capable of delivering a payload of up to 100 kilograms to the lunar surface. Delivery to the XL-1 orbit can be carried out by Falcon 9, Atlas V or Delta IV launch vehicles.
Among NASA announced nine scientificThe instruments that Masten Space Systems will deliver to the Moon in 2022 as part of the Provided Lunar Payloads (NPLP) and Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads (LSITP) projects will be scientific equipment for studying surface, soil composition and soil sampling.
First of all, Lunar Compact Infrared ImagingSystem (L-CIRiS), a radiometer capable of studying the surface of a natural satellite of the Earth, compiling a temperature map of the surface. The Linear Energy Transfer Spectrometer (LETS) will study the radiation background of the lunar surface.
A set of five Heimdall cameras designed toPlacement on vehicles when studying the surface. Such a tool can be a MoonRanger mini-rover, which provides communication and is necessary for cartographic research. The weight of MoonRanger is only 13.6 kg.
Mass Spectrometer Observing LunarOperations (MSolo) will conduct a soil composition study to identify mineral deposits. The Neutron Spectrometer System complex will be studying the concentration of hydrogen in the upper friable surface layer of the moon (regolith). These studies will help identify potential water concentrations.
In the study of surface composition and its temperatureThe Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System (NIRVSS) will also participate. The main purpose of the device will be the identification of light gaseous substances of the class methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia and water vapor.
In the navigation system, a device called Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) will be used to land the lunar modules, consisting of eight small mirrors that determine the distances on the moon.
The sampling of the soil of the moon will be carried out usingRobotic Arm Sample Acquisition, Morphology Filtering, and Probing of Lunar Regolith (SAMPLR). All of these scientific instruments will be delivered to the moon using the XL-1 lander.
NASA currently has contracts with14 companies. It is planned to implement at least two projects for the delivery of equipment to the surface of the moon. This will allow NASA to conduct scientific experiments, test technology and demonstrate opportunities for further exploration of the moon and preparation for manned flights.