Lockheed Martin previews next generation space cargo ships
Lockheed Martin has provided a glimpse at next-generation spacecraft by revealing its proposal for NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program. The new cargo ships are designed to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), and to support manned deep space missions, such as the first expedition to Mars.
NASA's CRS-1 program has achieved considerable success in recent years with SpaceX's Dragon and Orbital Science Corporation's Cygnus cargo ships making supply runs to the ISS. However, these are just the first step in an on-going NASA effort to promote commercial spaceflight. Now Lockheed is taking the next step with its plans for CRS-2, which were unveiled on Thursday.
A collaboration of Lockheed, Thales Alenia in Italy and Canada's MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, the CRS-2 proposal consists of a reusable orbital vehicle called Jupiter, a cargo container named Exoliner, and a robotic arm. The idea is to create a system that is less expensive by millions of dollars per launch, more flexible, and with deep space capabilities.