Human Spaceflight Beyond Low Earth Orbit

Monday 1 October 2018, 17:15 – 18:00

Location: Bremen Conference Center – DLR Hall


In recent years, several private companies and national governments have set their sights on the Moon. This renewed lunar focus has various drivers including space tourism, colonization, and resource mining. Northrop Grumman has been actively engaged in a detailed architecture and vehicle design study for NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program.  A major architectural element derived from this study is a cislunar module design based on Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.  Cygnus currently provides cargo resupply services to the International Space Station.  This session will detail how Northrop Grumman is taking advantage of this human-rated and operational system to  develop and deploy an affordable and reliable vehicle supporting the Cislunar Gateway objectives within the next few years. Designed to perform long duration missions in cislunar space, the Northrop Grumman Cislunar Module is extensible and evolvable to support future exploration missions.

Key topics will include:

  • An overview of Northrop Grumman’s progress to date towards a cislunar vehicle
  • Design features that allow the vehicle to be reconfigured to perform a variety of functions and services at the Gateway including habitat functions, the logistics transportation function, and science utilization
  • Key partnerships between NASA, international space agencies and commercial industry from across the world that will enable development and operation of the Gateway
Organized by:
Northrop Grumman


Robert T. Richards

Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Advanced Programs Division,

Northrop Grumman,

United States


Full Bio

Mr. Richards is responsible for Strategy and Business Development for the Advanced Programs Division including Civil Space, Human Spaceflight, and Deep Space Exploration business areas. Northrop Grumman’s Human Spaceflight activities include the Cargo Resupply Services for the International Space Station as well as future commercial and service based activities in low earth orbit. Derivative products will support deep space and cislunar exploration.

Mr. Richards has also been the Northrop Grumman lead for several international new business initiatives. Before the Advanced Programs management responsibilities, he was in charge of customer satisfaction, mission success, and financial performance of Pegasus and Taurus XL Space Launch Vehicles. He has managed a successful launch record including 39 Pegasus missions and 7 Taurus missions. These vehicles were designed to provide commercial low cost access to space. NASA continues to be a primary user of these vehicles to launch small science satellites.

Mr. Richards is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA, an Academician of the IAA, and has received the National Medal of Technology, and the National Air and Space Museum Trophy for technical achievement as part of the Pegasus Development team. Mr. Richards has also received several NASA Group Achievement Awards.