NASA Selects 18 Proposals for Asteroid Redirect Mission Studies

In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)
In this concept image, the robotic vehicle deploys an inflatable bag to envelop a free-flying small asteroid before redirecting it to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 18 proposals for studies under the Asteroid Redirect Mission Broad Agency Announcement (BAA).  These six-month studies will mature system concepts and key technologies and assess the feasibility of potential commercial partnerships to support the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, a key part of the agency’s stepping stone path to send humans to Mars.

The agency is working on two concepts for the mission. The first concept would fully capture a very small asteroid in free space and the other would retrieve a boulder off of a much larger asteroid. Both concepts would redirect an asteroid mass less than 10 meters in size to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) would rendezvous with the captured asteroid mass in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth.

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NASA Selects 3 Firms for Advanced Inflatable Entry Technology Development

A Global Aerospace ballute performs aerocapture for a lander at Mars (credit: Kees Veenenbos).

WASHINGTON — NASA has selected Airborne Systems North America of Santa Ana, Calif., ILC Dover LP of Frederica, Del., and Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company of Littleton, Colo., to support agency inflatable aerodynamic decelerator research and development, including work on the Space Technology Program’s Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD) project.

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