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New Work Assignments for Moon Mission
NASA's Glenn Research Center and nine other NASA field centers received good news yesterday. Agency managers announced new work assignments for the Constellation Program, which is developing a fleet of spacecraft to carry astronauts to the moon by 2020.

Ares V illustration The new work assignments will allow the field centers to begin planning and preparing for development of the lunar lander, lunar operations and Ares V heavy-lift rocket that will carry astronauts from Earth orbit to the moon.

Image right: Artist's rendering of Ares V launch vehicle. Credit: NASA

Glenn's new roles include leading the development of the Ares V rocket's power system, thrust vector control and payload shroud. The thrust vector control system will steer the rocket, and the payload shroud will protect the lunar lander as it reaches Earth's orbit aboard Ares V.

"The shroud is about 10 meters in diameter," said Robert Moorehead, Glenn's director of space flight systems. "It will be the largest payload shroud ever developed."

The center also will lead the development of the lunar lander's ascent stage propulsion system, which "gets man back from the moon to Earth," said Moorehead. As lead for surface systems power generation and energy storage, the center will explore options including solar arrays, batteries and fuel cells to power a habitat, rovers and other equipment for the lunar base.

Lunar lander and astronauts on moon Glenn's Plum Brook Station facility near Sandusky will test the Ares V Earth departure stage and the lunar lander in a simulated space environment.

Image left: Artist's rendering of astronauts and lunar lander on the moon. Credit: NASA

Glenn has extensive experience in designing space power and propulsion systems as well as testing space hardware. "These assignments are consistent with our competencies and capabilities," said Center Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. "They recognize our accomplishments so far."

Development of NASA's new fleet of spacecraft is well underway. In fact, NASA Glenn has already begun the work on the Ares I crew launch vehicle and the Orion crew module that was assigned in June 2006.

Ares V, Lunar Lander and Surface Operations Work Assignments:

  • Support lunar architecture work for Constellation Program system engineer
  • Lead Ares V power, thrust vector control and payload shroud development
  • Lead Earth departure stage orbital environments testing at Plum Brook
  • Subsystem lead for lunar lander ascent stage propulsion
  • Subsystem lead for ascent and descent stage power generation, management and energy storage systems
  • Lead lunar lander environmental testing at Plum Brook
  • Support for lunar lander project integration and descent stage propulsion subsystems
  • Lead lunar surface systems power generation and management, energy storage systems and element environmental testing
  • Subsystem lead for passive thermal systems and surface element communications
  • Support lunar surface in-situ resource systems (the moon's natural resources) and surface mobility systems (rovers)
More Information:
+ Press Release
+ Center-by-Center Work Assignment List
Jan Wittry (SGT, Inc.)