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NASA Receives Full-Scale Mockup of Blue Origin-Led National Team’s Human Landing System

National Team HLS mockup
National Team HLS mockup

A Blue Origin-led team has handed over to NASA an engineering mockup of a human landing system that could bring astronauts to the lunar surface.

Blue Origin was one of the three prime contractors tapped by NASA in late April to develop a landing platform in support of the agency’s Artemis moon mission in 2024 and the company said Thursday that it works with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper as part of the HLS National Team.

Blue Origin works on the crew lander vehicle’s Descent Element and oversees program management, mission engineering and operations and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed builds the reusable Ascent Element and leads manned flight training and operations. Northrop is responsible for the system’s Transfer Element while Draper offers flight avionics and descent guidance to the team.

“Testing this engineering mockup for crew interaction is a step toward making this historic mission real,” said Brent Sherwood, vice president of advanced development programs at Blue Origin. “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.” 

The full-scale mockup of the lunar lander will stay at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Building 9 in Houston through early 2021 for simulations and tests.

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Written by Jane Edwards

is a staff writer at Executive Mosaic, where she writes for ExecutiveBiz about IT modernization, cybersecurity, space procurement and industry leaders’ perspectives on government technology trends.

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