Dynetics Works on ‘ALPACA’ Spacecraft for NASA’s Human Landing Systems Program

Dynetics Works on ‘ALPACA’ Spacecraft for NASA’s Human Landing Systems Program

Leidos' Dynetics subsidiary has started developing a spacecraft called Autonomous Logistics Platform for All-Moon Cargo Access under a potential $253M contract with NASA to develop human landing systems for the agency's lunar mission by 2024, CNBC reported Wednesday.

Dynetics was one of the three companies selected by NASA in late April to support the HLS program. The company's proposed ALPACA spacecraft will carry up to four astronauts to the lunar surface and will be equipped with eight rocket engines to support descend and ascent activities.

“We've chosen eight because it allows us to simplify the engine design somewhat and also gives us the ability to abort in every case all the way down to when we land on the surface,“ Andy Crocker, HLS deputy program manager at Dynetics, told the publication.

Dynetics intends to use United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket to launch its ALPACA and two modular propellant spacecraft, which will eventually link to ALPACA in lunar orbit. The company also plans to reuse ALPACA to facilitate the transportation of habitats, pressurized rovers and other cargo to the moon.

“It can be part of a broader lunar economy, that carries things back and forth from lunar orbit,“ Crocker said.

Aside from ULA, Dynetics will work with other companies including Maxar Technologies, Astrobotic, L3Harris Technologies and Sierra Nevada to develop the spacecraft.  

Dynetics has completed system requirements and conceptual design reviews and Crocker said his team has kicked off a certification baseline assessment to “establish the foundation or the basis for our design activities going forward.“

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