Boeing explains its lunar lander can be set for a launch mission as a single spacecraft on a SLS Block 1B rocket. Such a project will considerably decrease the number of launches and dockings requested for mission success. NASA received, however, Boeing’s proposal, named “Fewest Steps to the Moon,” to start a lunar lander project that could be launched as a single part of a Space Launch System spacecraft.
Moreover, the company explained how its project sent to the Space Agency has already decreased the number of launches and other missions needed to send astronauts into space. Jim Chilton, senior vice president for space and launch at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, offers us an official statement regarding the project. He explained that “Using the lift capability of NASA’s Space Launch System Block 1B, we have developed a ‘Fewest Steps to the Moon’ approach that minimizes mission complexity while offering the safest and most direct path to the lunar surface.”
The project won’t need a separate transfer step to proceed from a close-rectilinear halo orbit to low lunar orbit, as other versions.
Former NASA associate administrator for exploration, Doug Cooke, said that “the fewer launches and critical operations per mission, the higher the probability of mission success.” He is also very sure about the project stating that “17 critical mission operations” were identified so far.
NASA, however, isn’t ready yet for the Block 1B version of SLS for a 2024 landing. Moreover, the Space Agency explained how it is in discussions with Boeing to grant a long-term production agreement for the SLS, but the Block 1B would not go into space until the Artemis 4 mission in 2025. As for Boeing’s part, it is known to own a “national team” called Blue Origin made of Draper, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin, a team, which will pursue a NASA lunar lander agreement.