. ASTROBOTIC will revolutionize the Moon

. SHAKLETON ENERGY wants Moon's resources

.   MOON EXPRESS-Expanding the Earth's Economic and Social Sphere to the Moon

. ROCKET LAB is ready for business

. Construction with Regolith

. The  Latest U.S. Missions to the Moon (Videos)

1972: Apollo 17 (NASA)

Note: Apollo 17 was the eleventh manned space mission in the NASA Apollo program. It was the first night launch of a U.S. human spaceflight and the sixth and final lunar landing mission. The mission was launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, and concluded on December 19 of the same year.

. Cislunar Space Economy - United Launch Alliance (ULA)

. Global Exploration Roadmap (GER)

. Upgradable Lunar Architecture Scenarios

. Possible In-Situ Resource Utilization on the Moon

. Space Habitat: Where, How and What Kind?

. Lunar Vicinity Missions

Space Launch System (SLS) - Habitat Concep

. And More...

. Habitat Concepts for LEO, Moon and Mars Orbits & Surfaces 





Because of past success with the U.S. commercial space industry, and the growing interest to reach and explore the Moon, NASA continues its partnership with the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) program.  Through this program, NASA selected three partners in 2014 to spur commercial cargo transportation capabilities to the surface of the Moon.

With this no-funds-exchanged Space Act Agreement (SAA) partnership with Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, PA., Masten Space Systems Inc. of Mojave, CA. and Moon Express Inc., of Cape Canaveral, FLA, NASA will not only develop capabilities that could lead to a commercial robotic spacecraft landing on the Moon, but also enable possible new science and exploration missions of interest to themand the broader scientific and academic communities. LEARN MORE about CATALYST

Credit: NASA

XEUS is a vertical-landing, vertical-takeoff lunar lander demonstrator being developed in partnership by Masten Space Systems and United Launch Alliance (ULA). (see next page)


Orbit and Surface operations at any Lunar destination. (see in this page)

A  Scout Class exploration starting from low-Earth orbit, MX-1 delivers flexibility and performance to revolutionize access to the Moon and cislunar space. (see in this page)


The U.S. began a new series of robotic lunar missions with the joint launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) in 2009. In 2011, a pair of re-purposed spacecraft began the ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun) mission. In 2012, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) twin spacecraft studied the Moon’s gravity field and produced the highest-resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) was launched in 2013.

credit: VidMix

Super zoom on the moon. The shot iswith 150x optical zoom - 0:30 + 350x digital zoom - 1:38. Shot with Sigma 150-600mm super telephoto lens + 3 x 2x teleconverters.

NASA | LRO Observes the LCROSS Impact
ScienceCasts: NASA Mission Seeks Lunar Air

The complete list of historic missions to the moon, here. 


The European Space Agency was first in the new millennium with SMART-1 in 2003, followed by Kaguya (Japan), Chang’e 1 (China), and Chandrayaan-1 (India) in 2007–2008. And recently,we have....

Credit: GabeHashTV

The China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) annonced on Feb, 19, 2016: "China's first moon lander, Chang'e-3, awakened automatically on Thursday after "sleeping" during the lunar night, entering its 28th lunar day".

Although the moon lander has already exceeded its design life by 14 months, the astronomical telescope and other surveying devices still working well.

SASTIND also said that preparation for the country's next lunar probe mission, Chang'e-5, is under way, and it is expected to be launched around 2017.The Chang'e-5 probe will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth.(Xinhua)

Credit: http://www.cnsa.gov.cn/

TheBasalt, a mafic extrusive rock, is the most widespread of all igneous rocks, and comprises more than 90% of all volcanic rocks –it is commonly found on the Moon and Mars.

Typical properties of normal strength Portland cement concrete are: 

  • Compressive strength : ~20 -40 MPa (~3000 -6000 psi)

Typical properties of Basalt rock are: 

  • Compressive strength : ~144 -292 MPa (20,885 –42,351 psi)

Basalt rock can be 4-7 X stronger in compression than normal Portland cement concrete typically used on Earth.


Distance from Earth is 384,400 km (238,855 miles) . Its Orbit Period is 27.32 Earth days . Its Orbit Eccentricity is 0.05490 orbit (Circular Orbit = 0) . The inclination to Ecliptic is 5.145 degree (deg), of Equator to orbit is 6.68 deg . Its rotation period is 27.32 Earth days . Equatorial radius is 1,737.4 km (1,079.6 mi) . Mass is 0.0123 of Earth's . Density is 3.341 g/cm3 (0.61 of Earth's) . Gravity is 0.166 of Earth's . Temperature Range between (Max) 110 °C/230 °F and -170 °C/-274 °F.

The Moon was first visited by the U.S.S.R.’s Luna 1 and 2 in 1959, and a number of U.S. and U.S.S.R. robotic spacecraft followed.The U.S. sent three classes of robotic missions to prepare the way for human exploration: the Rangers (1961–1965) were impact probes, the Lunar Orbiters (1966–1967) mapped the surface to find landing sites, and the Surveyors (1966–1968) were soft landers.

The first human landing on the Moon was on July 20, 1969. During the Apollo missions of 1969–1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the Moon and used a Lunar Roving Vehicle to travel on the surface and extend their studies of soil mechanics, meteoroids, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind. The Apollo astronauts brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rock and soil to Earth for study.

After a long hiatus, lunar exploration resumed in the 1990s with the U.S. robotic missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector. Results from both missions suggested that water ice might be present at the lunar poles, but a controlled impact of the Prospector spacecraft produced no observable water.

Lunar Regolith Definition: Surficial layer covering the entire lunar surface ranging in thickness from meters to tens of meters formed by impact process –physical desegregation of larger fragments into smaller ones over time.

Moon Resources-Regolith: Ilmenite -15% / Pyroxene -50% / Olivine -15% / Anorthite-20% / Water (almost >1000 ppm) / Deposit by Solar Wind: Hydrogen (50 -100 ppm), Carbon (100 -150 ppm), Nitrogen (50 -100 ppm), Helium (3 -50 ppm) & 3He (4 -20 ppb).

So, we have Oxygen, the most abundant element on the Moon because it constitute approx. 42% of the regolith, Solar wind put many volatile elements on the surface but at low concentrations, Metals and silicon are abundant and, Water may surely available at poles.

Some Regolith Resources can be Used:

  • Lunar oxygen: propellant, life support

  • Iron, aluminum, titanium: structural elements

  • Magnesium: less strong structural elements

  • Regolith: sintered blocks, concrete, glass

  • Water: Ice blocks, molded ice

Reference: Construction with Regolith / CLASS / SSERVI / FSI /The Technology and Future of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) / A Capstone Graduate Seminar, Orlando, FL, March 6, 2017 / Robert P. Mueller, Senior Technologist / Engineer, NASA, Kennedy Space Center –Swamp Works.

Potential Applications:

  • Structural beams, rods, plates, cables

  • Cast shapes for anchors, fasteners, bricks, flywheels, furniture

  • Solar cells, wires for power generation and distribution

  • Pipes and storage vessels for fuel, water, and other fluids

  • Roads, foundations, shielding

  • Spray coatings or linings for buildings

  • Powdered metals for rocket fuels, insulation

  • Fabrication in large quantities can be a difficult engineering problem in terms of materials handling and heat dissipation




Astrobotic is contracting payloads to Trans-Lunar Insertion (TLI), Lunar Orbit, and Surface on the Moon at Lacus Mortis for its First Mission . 

Target Landing Site: Lacus Mortis, 45°N 25°E

Local Landing Time: 55-110 Hours After Sunrise
A Lunar day, from sunrise to sunset on the Moon, is equivalent to 354 Earth hours or approximately 14 Earth days.

Credit: ASTROBOTIC, Payload User Guide, Mission One


Up to 300kg payload mass can be delivered to the Lunar surface or to a specific orbit. It will cost you $1.2M/kg for the surface, $2M/kg on the rover or, if you need a full custom mission, the price goes between $110M to more than $150M.

Payloads can be Scientific Instruments, Satellites & Rovers, Research & Development, Brand Promotion, DATA, Art, Social & Educational.

It is possible to pay less for the mission if the Infrastructure is shared with others customers.

Astrobotic supplies propulsion, navigation, power, and communications, so you don’t build it or pay for the mass and, your payload includes a power and communications allowance.


GRIFFIN, a Lander of 4.5m X 1.6m. Credit: Astrobotic

Griffin gives a flexible path that can accommodate a variety of rovers and other payloads to support robotic missions like skylight exploration, sample return, regional prospecting, and polar volatile characterization.

Landers And Rovers. Credit: Astrobotic

For specific mission, autonomous landing uses cameras, IMU, and LIDAR to safely land Griffin within 100m of any targeted landing site you choose.

The lander have a Stout, stiff and simple aluminum frame for an easy integration of payload. Its main deck accommodates flexible payload mounting on a regular bolt pattern and four legs absorb shock and stabilize Griffin during touchdown on the Moon. To egress out the lander, the Rover uses deck-mounted ramps.

For customers' purposes, data are available about the qualification of the lander's structure for launch loads through vibration testing.

Specifically, Griffin's mechanical interface options accommodate a wide range of payload morphologies. Alternate mounting locations are available as a non-standard service.

The Lunar Mission will be provided by SPACE X on its Falcon 9. The vehicle can carry a 663 kg payload mass to TLI, 515 kg payload mass to lunar orbit and 270 kg payload mass to lunar surface.

Griffin has four tanks surrounding a main thruster, for a fuel mass of 1,685 kg. Four clusters of altitude control thrusters orient the craft. The main engine is concentric with the spacecraft central axis and performs capture, de-orbit, brake, and decent. Credit: Astrobotic

The Griffin lander uses off-the-shelf sensors and common algorithms for navigation during cruise and orbit. It determines position and altitude from radio time-of-flight, Doppler, sun sensor, star tracker, and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

On approach to the Moon, Griffin switches to the Astrobotic Auto landing System, which uses proprietary techniques for precision navigation. Computer vision algorithms compare images from the lander's cameras with high- resolution NASA lunar surface images to determine the craft's position and altitude. As the craft is near the surface, it uses laser sensors to construct a 3D surface model of the landing zone. It detects slopes, rocks, and other hazards and autonomously maneuvers to a safe landing.


PEREGRINE, a Lander of 2.5m X 1.5m. Credit: Astrobotic

PEREGRINE’s interface options accommodate a wide range of payload types. Alternate mounting locations are available as a non-standard service. For Mission One: 35 kg payload mass capacity

For its Propulsion System, PEREGRINE uses five engines with 440 N thrust each, serving as the spacecraft’s main engines for all major maneuvers. As for GRIFFIN, the main engines are concentric with the spacecraft central axis and provide a trans-lunar injection, trajectory correction, lunar orbit insertion, and descent.

The PEREGRINE's Guidance Navigation & Control (GN&C) system uses heritage algorithms that are further enhanced by recent developments in navigation with machine vision. The lander also uses off-the-shelf sensors and algorithms for navigation during cruise and orbit. It determines its position and altitude from radio time-of-flight, Doppler, sun sensor, star tracker, and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

On approach to the Moon, PEREGRINE switches to the Astrobotic Auto-landing System, which uses proprietary techniques for precision navigation with 100m accuracy.


Through the Astrobotic first launch,  the company DHL will offer a service of delivery for anybody who wants to ship something to the Moon. This service is the  called MOONBOX.  

After the landing on the surface, MOONBOX™ participants will receive images and videos of the Moon Pod attached to the Astrobotic's lander. 

These photos will be the official record of your permanent commemoration on the Moon and can be shared with countless generations to come.

Wedding flower petal, Scout badge, Pet tag, Baby's fingerprint, Company logo, Heirloom ring, Signature, Family photo, Cufflinks, Sand from a favorite beach, Piece of a graduation tassel, Fraternity or sorority pin, Love note are  ITEMS SUGGESTED for the MOONBOX of DHL.

The First mission of ASTROBOTIC is to deliver payloads to the Moon for governments, companies, universities, non-profits organizations, and individuals.

For now, Astrobotic's Partnerships' Announcements are Agencia Espagnol Mexicana-AEM, Lunar Dream Time Capsule-Astroscale, Memorial Space Flight services-ELYSIUM Space, Lunar Rover Delivery-Google Lunar X Prize Official team, Mementos To The Moon-DHL MoonBox, Lunar Mission One, Lunar River Delivery-AngelicvM, Memory Of Mankind on the Moon-PULL Space Technologies & ATLAS Space Operations, Inc.


Private space companies are on the starting line to develop the Moon's resources. Some such as Shackleton Energy Company, have big and precise plans to do it.

"We Are Going Back to the Moon to Get Water. There are billions of tons of water on the poles of the Moon. We are going to extract it, turn it into rocket fuel and create fuel stations in the Earth's orbit. Just like on Earth you won't get far on a single tank of gas. What we can do in space today is straight-jacketed by how much fuel we can bring along from the Earth's surface. Our fuel stations will change how we do business in space and jump-start a multi-trillion dollar industry,says Jim Keravala, CEO and co-founder of Shackleton Energy Company Inc.

To establish fuel stations in orbit, many problems must first be solved. It is necessary to have orbital corridors clear of space junks, efficient satellites robotic servicing, many orbital and lunar hotels and Research labs. To be more independent from the Earth, we also have to be able to manufacture materials and built structures in gravity, and mine asteroids.

For Shackleton Energy, to do this at a reasonable cost, rockets offering affordable travels to orbit and access to fuel stations, are necessary.

Credit: https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com 

Until now, the biggest barrier to expand businesses off the Earth was the very high cost to go in orbit. Fortunately, in recent years, meaningful leadership and amount of capital have been invested in this part of the Rockets' industry.

People such as Elon Musk of SpaceX, Jeff Greason of XCOR, Alan Bond of Reaction Engines, Jeff Bezos of Blue Origins, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company or Paul Allen of Stratolauncher, all work to reduce the cost of accessibility to space.

Shackleton Energy Fuel Depot. Credit: Boeing.

Fuel limits what we can do and where we can go once in orbit.

It is like a trip in car. When we go, we fill the tank with the maximum of gas. But, because we have to return home, we only go half way because we are limited by the availability of gas.

This is  why a maximum of fuel is put inside the rockets' tanks to escape the Earth's gravity. But, when payloads are launched to lower-Earth orbit (LEO), 85% of the rocket's mass is fuel! And, if it is necessary to go far, the percentage goes up, like 90% to geostationary orbit (GEO), 95% to the Moon's surface and over 98% to the surface of Mars. Once the fuel is used up, the vehicle is useless. This is a big cost for companies.

Concepts to refuel rockets or spacecrafts in space date back to 1970s, but no commercial organization has seriously been working on this problem, except SHACKLETON ENERGY.

Why Make Fuel with Water from the Moon?

Simply because the ice (water) can be easily split into Hydrogen and Oxygen, necessary fuel for many rockets and spacecrafts engines.

Also, the Moon is one-sixth of the Earth's size, this means we need to contend with roughly one-sixth of the Earth's gravity. Then, we need much less fuel to lift any mass off the Moon's surface. The company has calculate that, it is about 20 times cheaper to deliver water to LEO from the Moon's surface than it is to deliver it from the Earth's gravity! Shackleton Energy has turned this insight into the most comprehensive commercial space program ever created in the last 20 years.

"Bigger payloads. Space junk kept out of the way. Defunct satellites back online. Space tourism. Hotels and research labs in orbit. Mining and manufacturing in space. Space based solar power. Missions to Mars or anywhere else in our solar system. With SEC's refueling stations, all of this comes within our reach," says Jim Keravala.

Eight Years to Full Operations!

We remember that, the $100 billion Apollo program put the first man on the Moon in 7 years. Shackleton Energy wants to put a team within 8 years, and provide millions of tonnes of fuel and water for space's customers. That will lay the foundation for space settlement for approximately one-tenth of the cost of Apollo. First revenues are expected within 4 years of program start and full break-even within 12 years.

What is the Program?

In the First year, the Phase One will start with the Planning where the technical and architectural designs are conceived. At this stage, the company has customers' engagements and pre-sales of propellant. Shackleton Energy will spend three years in this initial conception design.

At the Second Phase, in the Fourth year, a Robotic lunar polar prospecting mission will be sent to identify the best mining locations for the Ice and built the operational base.

Once the robotic mission is over, the company will move to Phase Three lasting two years. In this phase, Shackleton Energy will develop, construct and deploy spacecrafts' prototypes and initial human operations.

After six years, the program will be in its Final Phase. At the end of this phase,  human Lunar operations and the propellant supply chain to customers will be ready for Business. 

SHACKLETON ENERGY and ZAPTEC want to develop drilling and power solutions for operations on the Moon

Credit: Shackleton Energy

Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) and Zaptec signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore how technology originally developed by Zaptec for the Norwegian oil & gas sector can be repurposed to create lightweight power infrastructure to extract water from the Moon. LEARN MORE @ SHACKLETON ENERGY


Rocket Lab’s mission is to remove the barriers to commercial space by providing frequent launch opportunities to Low-Earth Orbit. Since its creation in 2006 by Peter Beck, Rocket Lab has delivered a range of complete rocket systems and technologies for fast and affordable payload deployment.

Rocket Lab is a private company, with major investors such as Khosla VenturesBessemer Venture Partners, Data Collective, Promus Ventures, Lockheed Martin and K1W1.

Credit: CNET

The Electron’s first stage is powered by nine Rutherford engines giving a lift off thrust of 162 kN (34,500 lbf), with a peak of 192 kN (41,500 lbf). The Rutherford engine provides an ISP of 303 sec.

The Rutherford is the first oxygen/kerosene engine to use a 3D machine taking about 24 hours to print all its primary components. This new propulsion cycle designed in-house for the Electron, provides a reduction of mass by replacing hardware with software, that brings light-weight rockets and light-weight costs to customers. 

Credit: Rocket Lab

Designed and manufactured in-house at Rocket Lab, Electron and its payload fairing of 1.2 meter are made of advanced carbon composite materials for a strong and lightweight structure.

Also, through an extensive research program, the company has developed impressive  low weight carbon composite tanks compatible with liquid oxygen.

What about the Second Stage

As seen in the videos above, the second stage engine has already qualified for space exploration. It uses a variant of the Rutherford Engine providing improved performance in vacuum conditions and a total thrust of 22 kN (5,000 lbf). With an ISP of 333 sec, it can carry a reasonable payload of 225 kg to LEO.

Rocket Lab can also tailor its 17 m high Electron to specific missions with a range of Sun-Synchronous altitudes in circular or elliptical orbits. At these altitudes of about 500 km with inclinations between 39 and 98 degrees, it can ship a nominal payload of 150 kg. 

Fast integration brings lower cost

To eliminate the risk of cascading delays and to enable customers to have standby payloads ready to go, Rocket Lab has an innovative approach.

Traditionally, as with NASA, the process is to integrate the payloads at the launch site. However, with the Rocket Lab's "Plug-In Payload" module, the customer can choose to manage this process using their own preferred facilities and staff. Environmentally-controlled or sealed payload modules are transported back to the company where their integration with the Electron vehicle occurs in a few hours.

This process is simple, fast and cheap.



At the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) Annual Meeting in 2017, Moon Express presented its Fabulous project about the MOON. 

2018, First Mission: MX-1 Scout Class Explorer. 


Credit: Moon Express

Apollo's missions to the Moon have confirmed that, its resources are largely on or near the surface, so they are very accessible. Also, recently, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission to the Moon has found the presence of huge quantities of water (H20). With lunar's water and resources, it is possible to create new spheres of economics' activities for the Earth's customers.

In the space industry, it is a fact that, water supports life but also, when transformed in its constituents of Hydrogen (H2) and Oxygen, can be used as rocket fuel for almost all engines.

Moon Express knows much work is needed before its economic exploitation becomes a reality. So, to charter at low cost scientific expeditions, commercial payloads and multiple applications to distant worlds, the company will use many MX spacecrafts. 

Because all missions of Moon Express start in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), its MX spacecrafts have to be launched there by rockets. In order to reach this orbit, the company has signed a contract for 5 launches with Rocket Lab USA, scheduled to start in 2018.

Initial mission to test system performance and durability

For its initial mission, MX-1 will be configured as an Orbiter and injected into Low-Lunar Orbit (LLO). In its travel, it will map the global distribution of  Oxide-Hydroxides (OH) and Water (H2O), studying their concentrations on the surface and their variations in time. 

Possible orbital measurements: 3 μm water band, bistatic radar, neutron mapping of H2 at high resolution

This mission will start in 2018 with the commercial Lunar Scout Expedition. Its objective is to prove the cost effectiveness of entrepreneurial approaches about space exploration. To do so, it will be carrying payloads from the International Lunar Observatory, “MoonLight” by the INFN National Laboratories of Frascati and the University of Maryland, and a Celestis memorial flight.

Following completion of operations supporting its Lunar Scout expedition partners, Moon Express will attempt to win the $20M Google Lunar XPRIZE.


2018, Second Mission: The Moon Express' MX family of flexible, scalable robotic explorers are capable of reaching the Moon and other solar system destinations from the Earth's orbit.

Distribution of Pyroclastic

Rima Bode

In its second 2018 segment, the MX-1 spacecraft converted into a Lander, will study Rima Bode, a region rich in Pyroclastic (volcanic rock). To do so, the Lander will be equipped with two instruments mounted under it. After their close contacts to the surface, it will take APX one hour to determine the chemical composition of pyroclastic and the Neutron Spectrometer to measure the hydrogen deposit in the upper meter of the regolith .

Scientific value - Primitive, unmodified magmas from the deep mantle / Source regions contain volatiles / Eruption mechanisms, dynamics - source of deep-seated rock fragments?

Resource value - Uniform, fine-grained deposits - easy feedstock for resource processing / Solar wind gas content may be enhanced in pyroclastic; if so, a potential “ore” deposit for H2 recovery.

Vast, regional dark mantling deposit (~7000 km2) / High-Ti content (black glass?) / Embayed by (older than) maria 3.5 billion years old / Complex vent and rille system associated with eruption / Near center of near side (12º N, 3º W); smoothed terrain of lunar ash beds / Xenoliths from deep in the Moon may be found near vent

The Lunar Outpost Expedition will be followed by a landing in the South Pole in 2020. Here, Moon Express will set up the first lunar research outpost, to prospect water and useful minerals.

Landing sites proposed on either Malapert peak (C) or Leibniz β (E). There, we have a constant Earth view and the sunlight > 80% of lunar day. 

By 2020, the business phase will begin with the Harvest Moon Expedition, it will be the first commercial samples return mission. Privately owned, these Moon materials will be used to benefit science as well as commercial interests. 

All MX's  spacecrafts start their mission in Low-Earth Orbit

MX-1 Scout Class Explorer

This single stage spacecraft can deliver up to 30kg to the lunar surface. Like the others, it starts its exploration from Low-Earth Orbit. Built with advanced carbon composites and silicates, the PECO rocket engine used is eco-friendly fueled. The MX-1 is available as an orbiter, a lander and can be configured as a deep space probe.

 MX-2 Scout Class Explorer

The MX-2's configuration doubles the capability of the MX-1 in cislunar space. With more space and power available, it can carry more payloads and/or reach Venus or even Mars' moons. Compatible with existing and emergent launch vehicles (like the Rocket Lab's Electron), the MX-2 will bring bigger possibilities for low cost exploration and commerce. Also, available as an orbiter, a lander, it can be configured as a single or dual deep space probe.

MX-5 Discovery Class Explorer

Equipped by 5 PECO engines delivering power level at ~6.9 - 9.8 km/s ΔV,  the MX-5 can carry 150 kg to Low-Lunar Orbit. With its multiple configurations, it can support a landing on the Moon as well as maintain cislunar operations. Outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems, it can reach the entire solar system. Available asan orbiter and a lander, it can be configured in deep space probe as well as a sample return vehicle.

MX-9 Frontier Class Explorer

MX-9 will support robust lunar sample return operations. Like the MX-5, it can be outfitted with MX-1 or MX-2 staged systems that can deliver over 10 km/s ΔV and extend its reach to the solar system, and beyond. 
With its 9 PECO engines, the MX-9 can also deliver up to 500 kg to the lunar surface from the Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO). Also available as an orbiter,  a lander,  a deep space probe and asample return spacecraft.

2020,Third Mission: Harvest Moon Expedition. Credit: GeekWire