One of the three companies chosen by NASA to create a Human Landing System (HLS) for NASA has completed a key step by building a full-scale test article of its lander for its team and NASA to evaluate and review. The Dynetics HLS is roughly the size of the Apollo moon lander, but it’s laid out very differently, as you can see in the image above.
Dynetics provided a brief overview of the test article and its purpose in a video introduction on Tuesday. As you can see in the walk-through below, it’s essentially a true-to-size 3D model that includes modular, re-arrangeable components. These don’t include actual working electronics or anything — they’re more like Lego blocks that NASA and the Dynetics engineers working on the product can use together to ensure that the HLS design works well ergonomically and functionally for the astronauts who will eventually be using it to make the trip down to the lunar surface.
The components of this test article include the crew module where astronauts will be living and working during their stay at the moon, as well as the tanks that will hold the propellant for the ascent and descent phases of its flight, an autonomous cargo platform and the tall solar arrays that will help power the spacecraft. Dynetics and its subcontractor LSINC created the mock vehicle in just three months after being awarded the contract by NASA.
The goal for Dynetics, as well as for Blue Origin and SpaceX, is to compete with one another for the initial contract to take humans to the surface of the moon for NASA’s initial human landing as part of its Artemis program, currently scheduled for 2024. Earlier this week, Blue Origin announced that it had passed a critical initial design requirements review, and Dynetics says it has accomplished the same. Blue Origin also delivered to NASA back in August a full-scale test article of its own.