NASA recently showcased its latest mid-sized lunar lander, which was specifically designed to carry and deliver payload weighing 660 lb. The new lander will carry the payload to Moon’s polar region, and the project is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). The ‘pallet’ lander is unmanned, and it will be used to carry a wide variety of experiments, small autonomous rovers, and instruments to the Moon’s surface. The main aim of this project is to transport cargo cost-effectively and reliably; these landers will be further used for commercial purposes, too, like spacecraft refueling, mining helium-3, and cryogenic manufacturing.
Policies of NASA suggest that it wants to return to the Moon on a permanent basis, and the agency is encouraging private investments. It is crucial for the agency to find a way to deliver payloads to the lunar surface using a simple and inexpensive spacecraft. NASA’s study, which is helping the new concept is based on various assumptions about capabilities and missions, along with advances in communication, landing, navigation, propulsions, and other subsystems. The goal of the agency is to produce a lander that can deliver a maximum payload with a precise landing. The lander will be placed on top if a commercial launch vehicle, and the solar panels will power the batteries during its trip to the Moon.