NASA's next plan to land on the moon continues in collaboration with Blue Origin. With a plan to send the first woman and the next man in the Artemis program, to the Moon, NASA will put another tick up on the bucket list.
Apparently NASA is taking slow but big steps, as it started hiring astronauts back in March this year for Artemis program. And not much has left until the program starts.
The mock up is reportedly set up in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF), NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), ready for testing.
NASA needs to be 100% sure
“The learning we get from full-scale mockups can’t be done any other way. Benefitting from NASA’s expertise and feedback at this early stage allows us to develop a safe commercial system that meets the agency’s needs,” explained Brent Sherwood, vice president of Advanced Development Programs of Blue Origin.
Testing process will be completed mostly through simulations to have real-life feedback. The mockup, as its very name signifies, is not fully functioning. However, along with its full-size components, the descent and ascent elements are included to get closer to the sense of reality.
Testing until early 2021
The prototype is a full-scale engineered wonder. To be able to get everything ready in a short time before the Artemis missions I and II, it is vital to evaulate the lander in person. And it is not going to take as long as you think.
Unless something goes wrong, tests and simulations are expected to be completed by early 2021 while the mockup stays at Johnson Space Center. The National Team will be working on the lander according to the constant feedback provided by NASA during a couple of more months.
The last manned mission to the Moon was completed in 1972 by Apollo 17. It will have been 52 years when the Artemis program starts in 2024 again.