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Private Sector, Low-Cost Lunar Plan Unveiled

Private Sector, Low-Cost Lunar Plan Unveiled
Artist rendition of the "rocket chair," designed to lower people and equipment onto the lunar surface. (Image credit: Spacedev)

Fraction of time/cost

Growing and last presence

Armchair astronauts

Along with a look at how best tostage Earth/Moon transportation, one novel approach to dispatching people ontothe Moon is the "rocket chair."

The rocket chair idea as envisionedby SpaceDev would be modular and dual purpose. The hardware could land smalllunar observatories or other science gear on the lunar terrain. It could alsolower individuals from lunar orbit onto the Moon.

According to a SpaceDev, the rocketchairs have the added feature of carrying sufficient propellant to ascend backto the command module for the return trip to Earth. In fact, on the way to theMoon -- should a problem develop -- rocket chairs, attached to the outboundcapsule -- have enough fuel to return the capsule to Earth for a directatmospheric reentry.

"If we are correct about ourlunar mission cost estimates, our type of human mission could have forty peoplevisiting the Moon for the cost of NASA's first mission," Benson concluded.

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Leonard David
Leonard David

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He was received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.