A multi-engine ascent module and descent stage with common bulkhead propellant tanks have been the outcome of Boeing's work for NASA's Altair Lunar Lander project office's $1.5 million "minimal functional" concept evaluation.
NASA's "minimal functional" Altair has a single ascent engine and separate descent stage propellant tanks. Boeing's Altair evaluation found an ascent module with six engines would help limit the astronauts' height from the ground, while the common bulkhead provides "simplified propellant management".
"We'll present our findings in the third week of September and there is a NASA meeting [of all the companies involved] in the first week of October," says Boeing's space and intelligence system's Altair configuration development team member Mark Benton.
Boeing is the first of the study's contractors to publicise its findings. The other participants are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Odyssey Space Research and Andrews Space.