Now that SpaceIL has made its landing attempt, the organization is set to “self destruct” (?); the nonprofit’s existence had been centered on Beresheet alone. Bash says that the group will decide on its long-term plans in the coming weeks. In the meantime, IAI has teamed up with the German firm OHB to offer the European Space Agency rides for its moon-bound instruments.
Under the agreement between the companies, OHB System AG, based on its long successful heritage in space missions, will act as prime contractor and will manage the work with ESA and the developers of scientific payloads for the lunar lander. IAI, for its part, shall provide a version of its lunar lander which was co-developed and built for SpaceIL; flight-ready and preparing to launch next month from the US.
ESA’s ISRU initiative – In-Situ Resource Utilization – will involve landing landers on the Moon to test technologies for producing oxygen, water and other raw materials from lunar soil as well as collect and analyze samples of the moon’s earth. These technologies are needed for long-term human colonization outside Planet Earth.
The OHB Group is also working with the American space company Blue Origin on lunar landing systems. Both companies signed a Letter of Intent at the International Space Congress IAC in Bremen in October 2018. The aim is to find out to what extent OHB and its subsidiary MT Aerospace can work together with Blue Origin across the Atlantic. The companies have joined forces for a future Blue Moon mission to the moon – Blue Moon is Blue Origin’s lunar landing device that can carry several tons of cargo to the moon. The companies also plan to collaborate on a payload on board Blue Origin’s reusable New Glenn orbital rocket. In addition, the OHB Group is also working on the feasibility of a lunar orbital base as a starting point for astronautical missions to the Moon or Mars. The working title, according to Lunar Orbital Platform Gateway. OHB System AG was selected to participate in one of two parallel studies for the planning of the European module ESPRIT (European System Providing Refuelling, Infrastructure and Telecommunications).