HOUSTON -- NASA's Constellation Program has selected five space-related companies to receive contract awards for a 210-day study to independently evaluate NASA's in-house design concept for "Altair," a lunar lander that will deliver four astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2020.
The awards total approximately $1.5 million, with a maximum individual award of $350,000. The study recommendations will be used to increase the technical maturity of the existing design in preparation for the development of vehicle requirements.
The Constellation Program is building NASA's next generation fleet of spacecraft -- including the Ares I, Ares V, and possibly an Ares VI, rockets, the Orion crew capsule and the Altair lunar lander -- to send humans beyond low Earth orbit and back to the moon. NASA plans to establish a human outpost on the moon through a successive series of lunar missions.
"These studies will provide valuable input for developing a sound set of requirements for the Altair lunar lander," said Jeff Hanley, the Constellation Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston."Industry collaboration will provide insight for our planning and early design efforts for the spacecraft."
The selected companies are Andrews Space of Seattle, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman and Odyssey Space Research of Houston.
The companies will evaluate the current in-house design, propose safety improvements and recommend industry-government partnering arrangements.