A team led by Blue Origin delivered a mockup of a crew lander vehicle to NASA which could take astronauts to the moon, the aerospace manufacturer said in a release Thursday. The Human Landing System (HLS) National Team, which also includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper, created the full-scale engineering mockup, which stands at over 40 feet. The lander is currently in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA Johnson Space Center.
The mockup “is the Blue Origin National Team’s update to Apollo’s Lunar Module (LM) and will be used to validate the National Team’s approaches for getting crew, equipment, supplies, and samples off and on the vehicle,” Blue Origin said in the release. The team will work with NASA organizations like Johnson Space Center’s Astronaut Office to conduct engineering and crew operations tests with astronauts who plan to fly the final system when it’s ready.
“Testing this engineering mockup for crew interaction is a step toward making this historic mission real,” Brent Sherwood, vice president of Blue Origin’s advanced development programs, said in a statement. “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 mockup will be at Johnson Space Center through early next year for tests and simulations. The National Team will continue to build and improve mockup fidelity over the coming months.