Take a Spin Around the Altair Lunar Lander

Article written: 4 Feb , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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What will NASA’s next generation of lunar landers be like? Well, right now the Altair lander is just a concept and the fine details of what the inside crew cabin will look like are still being figured out. But there are some general parameters the Altair program uses as a guideline, such as the lander needs to carry four astronauts to the lunar surface and serve as their home for up to a week. So that means Altair has to be much bigger than the Apollo lunar landers. (See below for a comparison of Altair and Apollo) There are Altair mock-ups already built at the Johnson Space Center in Houston where habitability teams are working inside, trying out different configurations. These teams are taking a look at how astronauts will live and work inside, so that Altair can be built in the best way possible for the mission. So what is their idea of how the inside will look? The folks at NASA have created a video depicting a 360 degree tour, just like the online home tours that realtors have for selling houses! So take a spin around inside! Click here for Windows Media, and here for RealPlayer.

NASA has a few other great videos of what landing on the moon will be like with Altair:

And check out this page on NASA’s website for an interactive Flash feature about Altair, and a concept video about landing, living and working on the moon.

How do Altair and the Apollo lander compare? One current concept for Altair is that it will stand more than 9.7 meters (32 feet) high and have a volume of 31.8 cubic meters (1,120 cu ft). The 1960’s-70’s Apollo lander stood 6.37 meters (20.9 ft) high and had an interior volume of 6.65 cubic meters (235 cubic feet).

Source: NASA Blogs


6 Responses

  1. Luke Garratt says

    oooh shiny!

    I haven’t bothered to check the links, but no mention of weight. I would have though a bigger, heavier vehicle will just require more propellant/thrust for the return journey to the orbiting vehicle? which means more payload to send in the first place…

    still, positive news on returning to the moon.

  2. Salacious B. Crumb says

    This craft looks absolutely brilliant, and obviously could carry several people to the moon in relatively comfort compared to the seemingly more fragile craft from the Apollo days.
    As for the animation, I would suggest that it would not be a good idea to land so close to a crater rim. However, this is a least better publicity. Now all NASA has to do is get the public on board and the US government fix and get past the current financial crisis.
    Look forward to more positive stories like this one. Go NASA!

  3. ceb1947 says

    They might want a toilet installed, a week on the moon plus travel would be quite a load! A giant step backward one would think after 40 plus years we could doo better.:)

  4. Gerry says

    “They might want a toilet installed…”
    For a mere week, a camper’s ‘baggie’ toilet and a bottle would suffice… a true toilet would be far too much weight. (Some future space archeologists will have the dubious chore of cataloging poo bags and diapers… ick!)

    “I would suggest that it would not be a good idea to land so close to a crater rim.”
    No sense in going if they’re going to play it so safe…. you WANT to go to the good parts we never went to before.

  5. matt says

    “For a mere week, a camper’s ‘baggie’ toilet and a bottle would suffice…” yeah, these are the smartest people we have to offer and you suggest they just carry their shit around with ’em. C’mon guy!

  6. Its silly to spend a three year period simply launching manned space craft back to the moon. We’ve been there and done that.

    When humans return to the moon again, there needs to be a permanent radiation shielded (lunar soil) facility on the lunar surface when they arrive. We need a lunar base– not another Apollo program!

    Marcel F. Williams

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