Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM)

Spiral 2 consists of the Spiral 1 elements, or derivatives of those elements, plus the Earth Departure Stage (EDS) to transport elements to the lunar vicinity as well as the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) that provides the capability for the crew to access the lunar surface. The CEV provides crew habitation from launch to lunar orbit and return to the Earth surface, including aborts during Earth ascent.

The EDS provides the propulsive accelerations needed to transfer the various flight elements (CEV and LSAM) from Low Earth Orbit to lunar orbit and provides the deceleration for lunar orbit insertion.

The EDS stage serves the same role as the Apollo S-IVB. The LSAM descent stage places the LSAM/CEV into lunar orbit.

The LSAM provides the crew habitation and transportation functions from lunar orbit, to the lunar surface, and return back to lunar orbit. In addition, the LSAM provides the capability for the crew to conduct science and perform routine EVA on the surface of the Moon.

The LSAM design has two basic parts. The descent stage is a four-legged platform with rocket engines that take the craft to the moon's surface. The ascent stage serves as a crew compartment and carries the crew back to lunar orbit when their mission is complete.

The LSAM has a horizontal layout that puts the airlock hatch close to the ground. This eases the task of unloading cargo from the cargo variant.

The lander would remain on the lunar surface for about a week. An airlock would allow a crew of four astronauts to leave the ship. The lander had only two astronauts during the Apollo missions. The craft is designed to carry up to 23 tons of cargo and could be used to rotate crews living at a lunar base.

The ascent stage engines are designed to burn liquid-methane propellant. This would be a test for future missions to Mars, since small amounts of methane are thought to be present in Mars' atmosphere. Mars mission astronauts might be able to produce their own rocket fuel instead of carrying it with them.

Unlike Apollo, the robust vehicle is not the CEV [the CSM-equivalent], but the LSAM [the LEM-equivalent]. The CEV is designed primarily for Earth-orbital station operations, so lunar-related capacities would be wasted if it flown to the Station on every mission.

Join the mailing list