Lockheed Martin is developing a new spaceflight system consisting of the Jupiter space tug and Exoliner disposable supply module that the company hopes will support future cargo missions beyond low Earth orbit, Space.com reported Thursday.
Mike Wall writes that Lockheed presented a concept video of the new system to show how it could be used for NASA missions to the International Space Station, the moon or even Mars.
“Although our priority is going to be servicing the International Space Station and providing the ability to carry commercial payloads and deploy small satellites, we’re also designing this system from the beginning to be able to do deep-space missions,” said Josh Hopkins, space exploration architect at Lockheed.
The company said the Exoliner can carry up to 11,000 pounds of pressurized cargo and 3,300 pounds of unpressurized cargo, while Jupiter features a robotic arm that will be used to swap the newly launched and used Exoliners before the former is hauled to ISS and the latter is destroyed in space.
Wall reports that Lockheed is offering the new system for its bid on NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 program, which also received proposals from Boeing, Sierra Nevada and current program contractors SpaceX and Orbital ATK.
According to Hopkins, Lockheed’s system can also be used for deep-space missions as Jupiter is designed after the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft and Exoliner can be modified into a human habitat.
“We want the ability to offer commercial logistics services to NASA and the international partners, not just to ISS but to lunar orbit and beyond,” he said.