(4 February 2021 – SNC) Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has delivered a prototype crew module for Dynetics’ Human Landing System (DHLS), to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).
Dynetics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos. SNC is responsible for providing key technologies and system integration of the crew module as part of the Dynetics-led HLS team.
If the Dynetics-led team is selected to continue development of their human landing system for NASA’s Artemis program, the SNC crew module could transport the first woman and next man to the lunar surface.
DHLS mockup (courtesy: SNC)
“Given SNC’s track record of travelling to or near every planet in the solar system, including our 14th trip to Mars, and supporting more than 450 missions to space, we are proud to apply that experience to this historic mission,” said SNC CEO Fatih Ozmen. “The Artemis mission is bringing back human exploration to the lunar surface, and SNC’s role on the exceptionally strong Dynetics-led team is centered on ensuring the safety of the humans who participate.”
HLS is at the center of the NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program designed to yield new science and material resources and leverage the moon as a proving ground for future Mars missions. Within the Dynetics team’s HLS architecture, the Descent/Ascent Element (DAE) ferries astronauts and cargo to and from the lunar surface; the crew module is the portion of the DAE that houses the astronauts. The crew module provides what the crew needs to live and work safely to, on, and from the Moon.
The prototype crew module has been a joint effort between SNC, Dynetics, and LSINC Corporation, the company that manufactured the prototype structure. SNC engineers and technicians outfitted the module to match the flight design by installing lighting, cameras, and structural compartment elements that define the living and working areas. The company also installed flight-like mockups of all major systems that would be present for a crewed lunar landing, performing integration and checkout testing to ensure successful interaction for all functional systems that have been selected to be active in the prototype.
“This is a really exciting milestone in the program for us,” said Janet Kavandi, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of SNC’s Space Systems and former NASA astronaut. “The prototype provides another platform for evaluating the crew module for DHLS to better understand how astronauts will function in the space we are providing. It also gives the astronauts an opportunity to provide feedback on the design.”
This prototype is the second in a series of full-scale hardware “mockups” that the Dynetics team is developing under the HLS contract. The first mockup —the “Low-Fidelity Mockup”—was delivered to Huntsville, Alabama in August and resides at the Dynetics facility in Huntsville, Alabama. This latest version is called the “Medium-Fidelity Mockup,” which reflects that its crew module contains greater functionality and is more representative of the expected flight vehicle design than its predecessor. Other hardware mockups and software simulators are being developed under HLS throughout the contract to provide engineers and astronauts various means to learn about and refine the system design.
Upon arrival at JSC, the crew module prototype was installed in NASA’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, which houses many of NASA’s other training mockups such as International Space Station modules and the Dream Chaser® spaceplane cargo mockup. Over the next few months, the Dynetics-led team will perform detailed Human-in-the-Loop testing to evaluate the prototype and provide input on design optimization.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)
Owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through best-of-breed, open architecture engineering in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. SNC is recognized among The Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space, as a Tier One Superior Supplier for the U.S. Air Force and is the only aerospace and defense firm selected as a 2020 US Best Managed Company. For nearly 60 years, SNC has delivered state-of-the-art civil, military and commercial solutions including more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participation in more than 450 missions to space, including to Mars.