Dynetics Lunar Lander to Use in-Space Refueling Tech

Dynetics Lunar Lander to Use in-Space Refueling Tech

TRL (technology readiness level) is a measure for maturity7 of the technology and is usually measured on a scale of one to nine. The company’s lunar lander relies on in-space refueling to be able to carry out its mission.

Fremont, CA: Dynetics’ lunar lander under development for NASA’s Artemis program is scheduled to make use of in-space refueling of cryogenic propellants and require three launches in quick succession, company officials revealed. In a September 15th webinar, the company discussed the overall architecture for the lander it is developing as part of NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) program. Dynetics is one of three companies that received HLS contracts from NASA in April for initial design studies of a lander that can transport astronauts to and from the lunar surface.

Top 10 Space Tech Solution Companies - 2020“Our lander is unique in that we need lunar fueling to accomplish our mission,” said Kathy Laurini, the HLS payload, and commercialization lead at Dynetics, during the webinar. “In the next couple years, we will take in-space cryogenic propellant refueling technologies from the lab to TRL 10 and operational.” TRL (technology readiness level) is a measure for maturity7 of the technology and is usually measured on a scale of one to nine. The company’s lunar lander relies on in-space refueling to be able to carry out its mission.

“One challenge with this approach is with boiloff, or loss of cryogenic propellants as they warm up. To address this, Dynetics plans to carry out the Vulcan Centaur launches on 14 to 20 daycenters, or roughly two to three weeks apart,” said Kim Doering, vice president of space systems at Dynetics. “We worked closely with NASA on our concept of operations, and the Orion plans, to ensure that our operational scenario is viable and feasible.”
The refueling process will initially be done using additional launches carrying propellant that is transferred to the lander. The lander is scheduled to be launched on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket. For the initial 2024 landing mission, Laurini said that two additional Vulcan launches would follow the launch. Propellant from those rockets’ Centaur upper stages will be transferred to the lander. “We’re all set up and preparing the launch system to support that cadence out of the Cape, and on track to do that,” said Mark Peller, ULA vice president, during the webinar.

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