German aerospace company OHB is working with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to launch a commercial landing mission by the end of 2022, SPACE News reported Wednesday. In January 2019, the two companies announced the signing of the Lunar Surface Access Service (LSAS) agreement to jointly transport payloads to the lunar surface.
Under the agreement, OHB will act as a major contractor and transport payloads, while IAI will provide a new lander based on the design of Israel’s Genesis lander.
Genesis was about to launch when the agreement was signed, but in April of that year, Genesis crashed on the moon’s surface due to a main engine failure.
At the European Lunar Symposium Webbook on May 12, Lotz Rickett, senior project manager at OHB, said That IAI had learned the lessons of the Genesis landing failure and had changed its design, including changes to avionics and flight software to prevent “command errors” that led to Genesis’s folding. In addition, IAI is upgrading the star tracker on the lander.
Rickett said ohB and IAI will provide more “multi-talented” landers than Genesis for its LSAS program: Genesis can only carry about 5 kg of payload and is designed to operate only three days after landing, while the LSAS lander will be able to carry a payload of 20 to 25 kg and run for eight days after landing. Also, future landers may be able to carry a payload of 80 kg.
Currently, OHB is still identifying scientific tools to be mounted on the lander, including experiments in geophysical science (such as magnetism and seismology), as well as experiments in situ for measuring volatiles in the moon and testing the condition of lunar soil clumps.
Rickett said the first LSAS lander is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2022, ohB is currently looking for customers, and the European Space Agency (ESA) could become their customer.
“ESA has been considering the mission because Europe has a lot of high-priority scientific payloads to fly to the moon,” he said. ESA and other stakeholders in Europe are also seriously considering leveraging commercial service providers. “
OHB is not the only company to use the Genesis lander version. In July 2019, The American Firefly Space Corporation announced an agreement with IAI to use the technology associated with the Genesis lander on its Own Origin lunar lander. Firefly Space is one of 14 companies involved in NASA’s commercial lunar payload service program, which aims to be transported by commercial companies to nasa’s scientific and technical demonstration payload to the lunar surface.