By Jeff Todd
LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– When NASA announced plans to take more missions to the Lunar surface, two Colorado companies got what they’ve been waiting for.
Deep Space Systems and Lockheed Martin, both of Littleton, made the list to bid on projects to deliver payloads to the moon.
“It has been a pretty busy week actually. On Monday, we landed on Mars. Today, we got the news that NASA selected Lockheed Martin as one of nine companies to build lunar landers,” said Josh Hopkins, a Senior Staff Engineer at Lockheed Martin. “It’s fun to have a chance to work on the moon again.”
Lockheed’s plans for deliveries to the moon is similar to the technology and design recently used for the InSight mission to Mars.
“It’s a little bit like a really fancy Lego set. It’s essentially a transportation service. We call it the McCandless Lunar Lander,” Hopkins said.
According to a Lockheed Martin statement, “The McCandless Lunar Lander is named in honor of the late Bruce McCandless, a NASA astronaut and longtime Lockheed Martin employee who was a pioneer in space exploration. McCandless is best known for conducting the first ever untethered spacewalk using the Lockheed Martin-built Manned Maneuvering Unit during a flight on the space shuttle. He originally joined the astronaut corps during the Apollo program and served as the voice of mission control for Neil Armstrong’s famous moonwalk. After retiring from NASA he was instrumental in the design of exploration technology and training the next generation of planetary explorers during his tenure at Lockheed Martin.”
“This particular announcement doesn’t mean that we have a specific mission or a specific launch date. But NASA has a lot of instruments and payloads in mind that they’d like to send to the moon,” Hopkins said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.