Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Lunar Lander Concept Studies

By SpaceRef Editor
May 25, 2006
Filed under , , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: Lunar Lander Concept Studies

Synopsis – May 25, 2006

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNJ06LSAM05L
Posted Date: May 25, 2006
FedBizOpps Posted Date: May 25, 2006
Original Response Date: Jun 23, 2006
Current Response Date: Jun 23, 2006
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541710 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BT


NASA/JSC is hereby requesting information about Lunar Lander Concept Studies. See attached study requirements description.

The purpose of this Request For Information (RFI) is to widely release the study guidelines that NASA in-house teams are using so that contractors, academia, or any interested parties can perform parallel studies and/or use this information to make decisions on how to focus their internal efforts. NASA will review all submitted concepts and may incorporate all or part of any concept into their planning for future studies.

No procurement solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. No acquisition will result directly from this RFI, but respondents will be updated on NASA study progress and may be called on for further dialog.

Interested respondents having performed studies meeting the attached requirements should submit concepts of 12 pages or less, including figures. Submissions shall be via e-mail and must be less than 7 Megabytes in file size. Please do not submit any proprietary information that may not be viewed by all NASA field centers.

Technical questions should be directed to Procurement related questions should be directed to Geraldine Mason at

This synopsis is for information and planning purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation.

Respondents’ lunar lander concepts are due, via email, to, no later than 5pm EST, June 23, 2006. Please reference NNJ06LSAM05L, Lunar Lander Concept Studies, in any response. Any referenced notes and attachments may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Geraldine B. Mason
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (281) 483-4714
Fax: (281) 483-7890

Name: Geraldine B. Mason
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (281) 483-4714
Fax: (281) 483-7890

Lunar Lander Concepts Requirements Description

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Constellation Program Office (CxPO) is assessing concepts for lunar landers that will deliver crew and cargo to the surface of the moon late in the next decade. An in-house conceptual design effort involving the NASA Field Centers is currently underway, and this RFI invites respondents to submit concepts that are derived from the same requirements, ground rules and product lists used by the NASA Field Centers to initialize their studies. These requirements, ground rules and product lists are given in the 9 numbered sections that follow.

1. Concept Study Introduction

Since the announcement of the Vision for Space Exploration, NASA has both contracted industry studies and conducted internal studies investigating concepts for lunar mission architectures and the flight elements required for these architectures. Most recently, NASA contracted with 11 industry partners in the development of Concept Exploration and Refinement studies (CE&R), and then used the CE&R results as inputs to its internal Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), which became the basis of its current exploration planning. NASA has since refined its exploration requirements, begun procurement of the initial components of its exploration architecture, and begun refined conceptual studies of the follow-on elements of the architecture. This Request for Information describes a small set of requirements, a list of “desirements”, and a short list of bounded trade studies that internal NASA teams are using to develop a broad catalog of lunar lander concepts. NASA is releasing this initialization package so that all interested parties may independently participate in the lunar lander conceptual study.

2. Concept Study Background

The Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) derived during NASA’s ESAS study was a preliminary concept with the ability to support a wide array of potential surface missions ranging from short science missions distributed across the lunar globe to supporting the build-up of a large lunar outpost at the south-pole. The ESAS LSAM was an excellent synthesis of options, given the 60 days of work that went into its design. It provided a basic understanding of the systems, operations, costs and risks of this vehicle, while acknowledging a significant portfolio of work to be completed in the post-ESAS timeframe. It was not, nor was it intended to be, the final answer. The ESAS study may be accessed at .

Since the conclusion of the ESAS study, refinements to the exploration architecture have taken place. While most changes have targeted the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), the one that most directly affects the lunar lander design directly is the deferment of Lox/Methane propulsion selection for the CEV (and by association, the LSAM ascent stage) in favor of storables.

With these refinements in place, and a more defined set of exploration requirements in place, it is now prudent to explore diverse sets of lunar lander design configurations that may yield more innovative solutions to supporting lunar surface missions.

3. Concept Study Objectives

The objective of this study is to define innovative lunar lander approaches that meet the fixed requirement set and fall within the bounding cases for trade studies. Each conceptual design team should use these common requirements and trade space boundaries to perform analysis and design of innovative lunar lander designs. The internal NASA study is taking place in two stages, with the initial phase of the study exploring multiple design concepts, including the relationship of the lander to potential surface systems, and a second phase down-selecting from the initial phase concepts to refine performance and design, and develop cost estimates, development schedules, and risk analyses. In this second phase, teams are also deriving technology development needs and requirements for robotic precursors, including estimates of how each investment will impact the cost or risk of the human mission.

4. Concept Study Approach

NASA is releasing this initialization package to all parties interested in performing lunar lander conceptual studies in parallel with the internal NASA teams.

The internal NASA teams are investigating the widest possible tradespace for innovative solutions, using the ESAS LSAM design as a point of departure. Expected products include refine the design of the lunar lander, including descent stage propulsion system packaging, descent stage payload packaging options, ascent stage design including crew cabin layout, piloting sightline/visibility studies, airlock design, and split volume options. Additionally, ascent stage propulsion system packaging, Reaction Control System (RCS) layout, lander structure, including landing gear, and launch vehicle packaging require additional work.

The ESAS study touched only briefly on alternate deployment concepts for lunar outposts and concluded by supporting an “incremental build” strategy that integrates the lander and surface system deployment and functionality. With the Earth Orbit Rendezvous – Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (EOR-LOR) architecture now fixed, this study should more fully explore options for deployment of a lunar outpost in pieces that can be packaged within this excess landed mass. This should be integrated with any lander reconfiguration study that contemplates leaving behind part of the habitable lander volume, airlock, etc.

5. Concept Study Products

Internal NASA teams have been asked to provide the following products, in two phases:

Phase 1:

  • Innovative lander design concepts
  • Graphics showing size, general arrangement, shroud packaging, payload accommodations, crew access to surface, crew piloting position
  • Vehicle performance characteristics – for Phase 1, mass estimates (by subsystem)
  • Identification of driving requirements
  • Results of sensitivity studies
  • Concepts for integration of the lander and surface systems, e.g., deployment of surface outpost habitation

Phase 2:

  • Refined design concepts
  • Updated vehicle performance characteristics
  • Updated trade/sensitivity studies
  • Cost estimates
  • Development schedules
  • Identification of top risks
  • Identification of technology drivers
  • Identification of precursor mission flight experiments

6. Fixed Study Requirements

  • Dual rendezvous mission mode (EOR+LOR)
  • Cargo Launch Vehicle (CaLV) Trans-Lunar Injection (TLI) capability from 296 km (160 nmi) circ (assuming 20 mt CEV at TLI):

Shroud Diameter (m) Net Lander Payload to TLI (mt)
8.4 45.0
10.0 40.7
12.0 38.0

  • Cargo mission (single launch) TLI mass: 53.6 mt
  • Low-Impact Docking System (LIDS) docking system
  • LSAM performs attitude control and Trajectory Correction Maneuvers)TCMs during trans-lunar coast
  • LSAM performs lunar orbit insertion, deorbit, powered descent, hazard avoidance, terminal landing, ascent, and rendezvous.
  • CEV remains in 100 km (54 nmi) circular Low Lunar Orbit (LLO)
  • 4 crew members for lunar missions
  • 500 kg minimum science/technology payload down to lunar surface
  • 100 kg minimum payload return from lunar surface to Earth
  • Surface airlock

Sortie Mission Delta V Allotment
Maneuver Delta V (m/s)
TCM 10
Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) 1100
Lunar Descent 1911
Lunar Ascent 1850
Rendezvous with CEV in LLO 37
Ascent Stage Disposal 23

Sortie Delta-V notes:

  • Descent stage main propulsion = 10 m/s MCC + 1100 m/s LOI + 1900 m/s descent = 3010 m/s
  • Descent RCS = 11 m/sec
  • Ascent stage main propulsion = 1850 m/s ascent + 16 m/s rndz + 23 m/s disposal = 1889 m/s
  • Ascent RCS = 11m/sec +10m/sec rndz = 21 m/s

Outpost Mission Delta V Allotment
Maneuver Delta V (m/s)
TCM 10
LOI 845
Lunar Descent 1911
Lunar Ascent (crewed mission only) 1868
Rendezvous with CEV in LLO (crewed mission only) 37
Ascent Stage Disposal (Crewed mission only) 23

Outpost Delta-V notes:

  • Descent Stage main propulsion= 10m/s MCC + 845 m/s LOI + 1900 m/s descent = 2755 m/s
  • Descent RCS = 11 m/s
  • Ascent stage main propulsion = 1868 m/s ascent + 16 m/s rndz + 23 m/s disposal = 1907 m/s
  • Ascent RCS = 11 m/sec +10 m/sec rndz = 21 m/s

7. “Desirements”

  • Common systems with CEV
  • 2200 kg of additional landed cargo payload on crew flights
  • Leaving hardware behind that can be used for incremental Outpost buildup
  • Capable of reuse or evolving to reusability
  • “Green” propellants
  • Capable of utilizing locally produced propellants using In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU)
  • Unpressurized cargo stowage volume
  • Ease of surface access for crew and cargo
  • Extensibility to a dedicated cargo lander (refer to ESAS Report, Section 4 for cargo mass data and descriptions)

8. Bounded Trade Studies

  • CaLV shroud diameter 7.5 m (27.6 feet) (7.5m) – 12.0 m (39.4 feet)
  • Dynamic envelope:
    • 12 meter shroud (39.37 feet); working diameter = 10.3 meters (33.8 feet)
    • 10 meter shroud (32.81 feet); working diameter = 8.77 meters (28.77 ft)
    • 8.4 foot shroud (27.6 feet); working diameter = 7.5 meters (24.6 ft)
  • Surface duration – 4 days (minimum) to 180 days

9. Open Trade Studies (as a minimum)

  • Crew cabin volume
  • Crew cabin configuration
  • Number of stages
  • General vehicle configuration
  • Propellant/engine selection
  • Terminal landing system

SpaceRef staff editor.