Nasa has awarded a contract to reusable unmanned air systems manufacturer Dynetics to develop Laser Air Monitoring System (LAMS) for its Orion spacecraft.

Under the $17.8m contract, Dynetics will be responsible for the production of Artemis III unit, and a qualification unit, design modifications, and long-lead procurement items for Artemis IV and V missions.

LAMS is an air monitoring technology that measures oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour, temperature, and pressure within the spacecraft during Artemis missions to the Moon.

The system detects the levels of these elements in cabin air composition are unsafe.

LAMS is considered to be suitable for deep space exploration given its low mass, volume, and power consumption, besides the ability to operate in space without re-calibration.

The contract is an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm fixed price orders.

Depending on the requirement of further flight units or components for the Orion programme or other NASA programmes and projects, the contract has a maximum potential value of up to $90m.

The period of performance runs until 2025.

Dynetics delivered the first version of a LAMS unit for use in Artemis II Orion spacecraft, in September last year.

Nasa stated: “The Orion spacecraft will carry astronauts to space on Artemis missions, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during transit to the lunar vicinity, and provide safe return to Earth from deep space. Orion is a vital part of NASA’s deep space exploration plans, along with the Space Launch System rocket, Gateway, and human landing system.”

Last week, Lockheed Martin has partnered with General Motors (GM) to develop a new lunar rover for Nasa’s Artemis lunar landing programme.