June 24, 2008

NASA Looks at Systems for Lunar Outposts

The U.S. space agency says it's completed a review designed to help determine the systems needed to establish an outpost on the moon.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's three-day Lunar Capability Concept Review capped a nine-month study that incorporated science and exploration objectives earlier developed by representatives of 14 nations as part of a Global Exploration Strategy.

The study looked at possible lunar mission scenarios and compared them to the capabilities of the emerging Ares V heavy lift launch vehicle and the Altair lunar lander design concepts, NASA said in a statement. This review of those findings, led by the Constellation Program Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, established all the technical parameters that will be needed to begin Â… the first phase in preparing vehicle requirements.

Jeff Hanley, the Constellation Program manager at the space center, said the study confirmed Constellation's conceptual designs for both Ares V and Altair.

This extensive review proves we are ready for the next phase: taking these concepts and moving forward to establish mature requirements, said Hanley.

The Constellation project seeks to return humans to the moon by 2020.