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Israel’s IAI And Germany’s OHB Join Forces On Lunar Surface Access Initiative

Image courtesy of NASA.

OHB System and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed an agreement that will see the companies collaborate on a commercial Lunar Surface Access Service (LSAS). The agreement, signed during the Ilon Ramon Space Conference on Tuesday, will provide a lunar lander that can allow payloads up to 150kg to the European Space Agency (ESA).

IAI will provide their lunar lander, previously designed for SpaceIL, a former competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize. This will give the companies a head start in their bid to launch lunar services as the lander has been fully developed.  OHB System will act as prime contractor, acting as the interface with ESA and developing payloads for the lunar lander.

The service commercialisation and mission definition for users of the service will be overseen by OHB that will also manage the overall mission from payload selection and integration to launch and mission operations. IAI will build the lander, accommodate payloads, integrate with launcher, support the LEOP & decommissioning and provide technical support in all mission phases from design, payload integration, launch and mission operations.

The lander will help to facilitate ESA’s ISRU initiative or In-Situ Resource Utilization. This programme will eventually feature landers that test technologies for oxygen production, water and other raw materials from the lunar soil and will also involve analysis of the Moon’s earth in a bid to gain more understanding of what is required for long-term human habitation.

“Exploring the moon and using it as a base is a logical next step for me that offers many advantages and opportunities. Landing on the surface of the moon, however, is still a challenge. At OHB we have carried out several technology studies on landing, using Moon resources e.g. for fuel, oxygen or water production, and on robotics. We also have a vast amount of experience in managing and accommodating very diverse payloads on spacecraft. I look very much forward to bringing the OHB expertise into cooperation with IAI and to jointly tackling the challenges posed by future Moon programs”, said Marco Fuchs CEO of OHB SE and OHB System AG.

Present at the signing were Marco Fuchs, Chief Executive Officer of OHB SE and OHB System AG and Opher Doron, General Manager of IAI’s Space Division. The signing ceremony was attended by Johann-Dietrich Wörner, director general of ESA, Prof. Pascale Ehrenfreund, chair of the Executive Board of the German Space Agency DLR and Avi Blasberger, director general of Israel Space Agency.

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