The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has awarded Dynetics Inc. of Huntsville, Alabama, an agreement in order to manufacture a Laser Air Monitoring System (LAMS). This is for the agency’s Orion spacecraft starting with the Artemis III operation.
The LAMS agreement is worth a value of USD17.8 million. The value comprises of manufacturing costs for the following units:
- Artemis III unit
- Qualification unit
- Design modifications
The list also includes long-lead procurement items in order to benefit the Artemis IV operation. The above will also facilitate the Artemis V operation. It is an indeterminate-delivery/unknown-quantity agreement. However, the agency fixes the prices for the orders. The agreement has the highest possibility of being worth USD 90 million. The maximum value comes in picture only if additionally, flight units or elements are necessary for the Orion program. Or if there may arise a need for any other NASA programs and ventures. The duration of its performance continues till 2025.
Resulting from an air monitoring system hovered on the Mars Curiosity rover, LAMS is a latest air monitoring technology that will measure the following within Orion. Oxygen
- Carbon dioxide
- Water vapor
Measurements for the above are taken during the Artemis operations to the Moon. The system is precise enough to identify precarious levels of these components in cabin air creation. This gives the team the necessary time needed to respond.
LAMS fits perfectly to deep space discovery. This is because of its low magnitude, volume, and power utilization. In addition, it has the capability to function in space with no re-calibration. In September 2020, Dynetics made the delivery of the initial version of a LAMS unit to NASA. The first version of LAMS was for the application in the Artemis II Orion spacecraft. The Orion spacecraft is the first ever Artemis operation that will carry human beings.
Features of the Orion spacecraft comprise of –
- Carrying astronauts to space on Artemis operations
- Providing emergency abort expertise
- Sustaining the crew while in transit to the lunar vicinity
- Offering a safe return to Earth from deep space
Orion is a crucial part of NASA’s deep space discovery plans, along with the Space Launch System space rocket, Gateway, and human docking system.