Vice President Unveils NASA Spacecraft for Artemis 1 Lunar Mission on Moon Landing Anniversary

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with an Orion spacecraft in the background. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave remarks in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing and announce to America the completion of NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

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Presidential Message on Space Exploration Day, 2019

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

On Space Exploration Day, we marvel at our country’s accomplishments in space, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, and pledge to launch a new era of discovery and exploration of our universe.

For more than a half century, the United States has led humanity’s quest into the great unknown.  Few moments in our American story spark more pride than the Apollo 11 mission, when Neil Armstrong, alongside Buzz Aldrin, planted our beautiful flag into the Moon’s surface on July 20, 1969.  Those first steps upon that “magnificent desolation” represent a remarkable era in American innovation that has inspired future generations to become scientists and engineers and has served as a catalyst for the technological revolution of the 21st century.  The Apollo 11 lunar landing was a spectacular demonstration of American technical prowess and space leadership, and it served as an enduring example of what can be accomplished, in the face of incredible odds, by American heart, courage, and grit.

To honor those who have come before us and for the future betterment of all humankind, we pledge to launch a new era of exploration, extending our pioneering spirit into the farthest reaches of the cosmos.  My Administration is committed to reestablishing our Nation’s dominance and leadership in space for centuries to come.  I have instructed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send the next man and first woman to the Moon and to take the next giant leap—sending Americans to Mars.  Sustained exploration that extends from our Earth to the Moon and on to the Martian surface will usher in a new era of American ingenuity, drawing untold individuals into the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and defense.

On this Space Exploration Day, we celebrate our tremendous technological advancements, honor those we have lost in the pursuit of discovery, and embrace the American Spirit that has inspired our Nation to lead the world in space.

Earth Blue, Rocket Red and Lunar Silver: A New Identity for Artemis Program to the Moon

Artemis will light our way to Mars. The new Artemis identity draws bold inspiration from the Apollo program and forges its own path, showing how it will pursue lunar exploration like never before and pave the way to Mars. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has led the charge in space exploration for 60 years, and as we mark the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, the agency is preparing for its next giant leap with the Artemis program.

Artemis, named after the twin sister of Apollo who is also the Goddess of the Moon and the hunt, encompasses all of our efforts to return humans to the Moon – which will prepare us and propel us on to Mars. Through the Artemis program, we will see the first woman and the next man walk on the surface of the Moon. As the “torch bringer,” literally and figuratively, Artemis will light our way to Mars.

With this in mind, NASA is unveiling the new Artemis program identity, a bold look that embodies the determination of the men and women who will carry our missions forward. They will explore regions of the Moon never visited before, unlock mysteries of the Universe and test the technology that will extend the bounds of humanity farther into the Solar System.

This new identity draws inspiration from the Apollo program logo and mission patch. Using an “A” as the primary visual and a trajectory from Earth to the Moon, we honor all that the Apollo program achieved. However, through Artemis we will forge our own path, pursue lunar exploration like never before, and pave the way to Mars.

With Earth Blue, Rocket Red and Lunar Silver for colors, every part of the identity has meaning:

  • THE A: The A symbolizes an arrowhead from Artemis’ quiver and represents launch.
  • TIP OF THE A: The tip of the A of Artemis points beyond the Moon and signifies that our efforts at the Moon are not the conclusion, but rather the preparation for all that lies beyond.
  • EARTH CRESCENT: The crescent of the Earth at the bottom shows missions from humanity’s perspective. From Earth we go. Back to Earth all that we learn and develop will return. This crescent also visualizes Artemis’ bow as the source from which all energy and effort is sent.
  • TRAJECTORY: The trajectory moves from left to right through the crossbar of the “A” opposite that of Apollo. Thus highlighting the distinct differences in our return to the Moon. The trajectory is red to symbolize our path to Mars.
  • MOON: The Moon is our next destination and a stepping stone for Mars. It is the focus of all Artemis efforts.

Download: Artemis Program identity

We go now to the Moon, not as a destination, but as a proving ground for all the technology, science, and human exploration efforts that will be critical for missions to Mars. On the lunar surface we will pursue water ice and other natural resources that will further enable deep space travel. From the Moon, humanity will take the next giant leap to Mars.

Third European Service Module for Orion to Ferry Astronauts to Moon Landing

Orion and European Service Module orbiting the Moon. (Credit NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — NASA and ESA have a long term plan for Europe to deliver the European Service Modules for Orion. With NASA’s announcement to bring humans back to the lunar surface before the end of 2024, it was also decided that the third ESA-provided European Service Module will contribute to this mission.

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Powering the Future with Lunar Soil

A vision of a future Moon base that could be produced and maintained using 3D printing. (Credit: RegoLight, visualisation: Liquifer Systems Group, 2018)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Building a lunar base would be one of the next logical steps in our exploration of the Solar System, but the survival of a future crew depends on access to a reliable source of energy. An ESA Discovery & Preparation study explored how lunar regolith – the dust, soil and rock on the Moon’s surface – could be used to store heat and provide electricity for future astronauts, rovers and landers.

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Three Expedition 60 Crew Members Heading to Station on Apollo 50th

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

Update: The crew arrived safely at the space station six hours after launch.

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Fifty years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and two fellow crew members arrived Saturday for their mission aboard the International Space Station, where humans have lived and worked continuously for more than 18 years.

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft carrying Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched at 12:28 p.m. EDT July 20 (9:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 254 miles over southern Russia between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, 646 miles ahead of the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

The crew has begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for their mission. Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 6:50 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 8 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Angelic Halo Orbit Chosen for Lunar Gateway

PARIS (ESA PR) — Mission planners at NASA and ESA’s Operations Centre (ESOC) have spent months debating the pros and cons of different orbits, and have now decided on the path of the lunar Gateway.

Like the International Space Station, the Gateway will be a permanent and changeable human outpost. Instead of circling our planet however, it will orbit the Moon, acting as a base for astronauts and robots exploring the lunar surface.

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ESA Confirms Asteroid Will Miss Earth in September

Asteroid Lutetia (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Asteroid 2006 QV89, a small object 20 to 50 metres in diameter, was in the news lately because of a very small, 1-in-7000 chance of impact with Earth on 9 September 2019.

In the first known case of ruling out an asteroid impact through a ‘non-detection’, ESA and the European Southern Observatory have concluded that asteroid 2006 QV89 is not on a collision course this year – and the chance of any future impact is extremely remote.

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Potomac Institute Calls for a Coordinated National Space Strategy on the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2019 (Potomac Institute PR) — The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies (PIPS) calls for a Coordinated National Space Strategy. Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, the impact of space-based infrastructure has increased year after year. Today, more than ever before, the benefits brought from orbit pervade every level of society: GPS enables over $1 billion of economic activity per day, NOAA satellites collect weather data to warn of upcoming storms and track long term climate data, communications satellites provide worldwide, irreplaceable coverage for both civilian and military operations, and much more. These industries touch on nearly every department, agency, and office of the federal government and impact each American every day.

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Purdue Center to Focus on Development of Earth-Moon Economy

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR) — To create a sustainable presence beyond Earth, humans need to further expand into the region encompassing Earth and the moon, called “cislunar space.” That takes building an infrastructure that opens up economic expansion, just as the interstate highway system spurred economic growth in the U.S.

Purdue University is leading an effort that will provide national leadership in the development of cislunar capabilities and advance the space-based economy through collaboration with industry, academia and government agencies.

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A Few Things Artemis Will Teach Us About Living and Working on the Moon

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module staffed by astronaut Michael Collins. (Credit: NASA)

Humans have not had much of an opportunity to work on the Moon. The 12 Apollo astronauts who got to explore its surface clocked in 80 hours in total of discovery time. From their brief encounters, and from extensive analyses of Apollo samples and lunar meteorites that were found on Earth, scientists have learned nearly as much as is possible to learn about the lunar environment without much contact with the surface.

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NASA Releases Stunning Panoramas of Apollo Landing Sites for 50th Anniversary

A panorama of the moon from images taken during the Apollo 17 mission. (Credit: NASA)

NASA imagery experts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center have “stitched together” images from the Apollo landing sites on the Moon for a 50th anniversary reminder of what the 12 humans who walked on its surface experience visually.

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Individual images taken by the Apollo astronauts were pulled together by NASA imagery specialist Warren Harold at Johnson, and the accuracy of the unique perspective they represent was verified by  Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the Moon.

 “The Valley of Taurus-Littrow on the Moon presents a view that is one of the more spectacular natural scenes in the Solar System,” Schmitt said about the images stitched together from his Moon base Station 5 at the Taurus-Littrow landing site.

“The massif walls of the valley are brilliantly illuminated by the Sun, rise higher than those of the Grand Canyon, and soar to heights over 4,800 feet on the north and 7,000 feet on the south,” Schmitt added. “At the same time, the summits are set against a blacker than black sky —  a contrast beyond the experience of visitors from Earth. And, over the South Massif wall of the valley, one can always see home, the cloud-swirled blue Earth, only 250,000 miles away.”

The Apollo 17 panorama also has been converted into an immersive panorama viewable on the NASA Johnson account on Facebook.

Inspect these images and learn more about the sites they depict at:

https://images.nasa.gov/https://flic.kr/s/aHsjHYKZe3

Immerse yourself in the view from the Apollo 17 landing site by visiting JSC Facebook at:

https://go.nasa.gov/2YXLtbh

NASA to Broadcast Launch, Arrival of Astronaut Andrew Morgan at Space Station

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. They will launch July 20, 2019 from Baikonur for their mission on the International Space Station. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — A multinational crew of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, July 20 – the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic landing on the Moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch and arrival.

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