Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

A newly issued User’s Guide details the McCandless Lunar Lander.

Lockheed Martin’s commercial lunar mission services is explained in the guide describing the lander configuration, payload capabilities and interfaces, landing site options, testing and facilities, and mission operations.

In addition to standard capabilities described, the lander can be customized to mission-specific needs.

The McCandless Lunar Lander draws from Lockheed Martin’s experience developing, testing, and/or operating dozens of planetary spacecraft in collaboration with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Astronaut Bruce McCandless
Credit: NASA

Named after astronaut Bruce McCandless

The McCandless Lunar Lander is named in honor of astronaut Bruce McCandless II who passed away in December 2017. He is well known for flying the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) jetpack in the world’s first untethered spacewalk on STS-41B and for helping deploy the Hubble Space Telescope on STS-31.

McCandless joined the astronaut corps during the Apollo program in 1966. He supported the Apollo program in Mission Control as a capsule communicator for the historic Apollo 11 launch and moonwalk. After retiring from NASA in 1990, he joined Lockheed Martin, working for more than two decades with the aerospace firm.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Cargo transport

From science instruments to exploratory rovers to resource extraction experiments, the McCandless Lunar Lander can transport up to 772 pounds (350 kilograms) of cargo to the surface of the Moon and provide up to 400 Watts of power to operate on the lunar landscape.

The McCandless hardware design, flight and ground software, and operations concept are adapted from Lockheed Martin’s current generation of NASA planetary spacecraft, such as the InSight Mars lander, OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and upcoming Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids.

For example, the avionics, propulsion, and landing gear are closely derived from equivalent systems on InSight.

McCandless lander can transport and deploy small to medium class lunar rovers using deployment hardware provided by the customer or by Lockheed Martin.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Moon operations

Lockheed Martin’s Deep Space Exploration Mission Operations group will operate

McCandless missions from the Mission Support Area (MSA) in the Denver, Colorado facility.

Customers who will perform complex near-real time operations with frequent commanding through the lander, such as operating robotic arms or rovers, may consider locating an operations center at the Lockheed Martin facility for maximum efficiency, the User Guide explains.

To access the McCandless Lunar Lander User’s Guide, go to:


Leave a Reply