credit: ESA / caption: this was Hyperbola’s screengrab of the only lander like design in an ESA Moonbase image

The European Space Agency has released information about its lunar lander plans 15 months after Flight first reported on it in November 2007 and the agency’s exporation director Bernard Hufenbach provided Hyperbola with more lander detail in the following April – this was triggered by NASA’s Neal Newman spilling the beans about a 1,500kg (3,300lb) payload capable ESA lander at the 3rd space exploration conference held in DenverI left Newman’s comment about the ESA lander out of the live blogging text I was publishing as I wanted to follow that up and not alert other journalists to that revelation so you won’t find any lander reference at the exploration blog entries

The not so rosy part of this ESA lander plan is that the agency only got about half what it actually wanted for its lander studies with €11 million ($13.7 million) but with a post-2020 timeframe for its operation that might not matter so much

Here you can see lander designs by European industry in collaboration with US industry and below is the EADS Astruim design that looks remarkably like the design ESA put on its website

x lander G.JPG

ESA’s 2 March news release about the lander refers to a precursor mission. This is likely to be for the International Lunar Network. This envisages a number of small landers that deliver science payloads to the surface to do seismological studies