Space Force Pitch Day Awards $32.3 Million to 19 Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – SpaceWERX officially lifted off Aug. 19 during the virtual Space Force Pitch Day. The event closed with 19 small businesses securing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to advance their cutting-edge space technologies.

The newly launched SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the U.S. Space Force. It will operate as part of AFWERX, the Department of the Air Force’s innovation arm.

“What better way of introducing the new organization than bringing in new partners, locking in new investments and going after great space technology,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “We’re excited to be partnering with these great companies and the great technology they bring to the table.”

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Astrobotic MoonRanger Moves into Final Production

MoonRanger (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today that MoonRanger, an autonomous rover that will explore the lunar South Pole in 2022, passed NASA’s Key Decision Point (KDP) review and is in the final stage of the payload preparation phase, culminating in flight hardware fabrication.

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Astrobotic Wins Two NASA Prizes for Lunar Power Infrastructure

Credit: Astrobotic Technology

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic, the world’s leading lunar logistics company, has won two prizes for Phase 1 of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Centennial Challenge. The prizes further establish Astrobotic as a pioneer in lunar surface power generation, distribution, storage, and management.

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ULA’s Bruno Denies Igniter Problems with Vulcan Centaur’s BE-4 Engine

In a recent report, the GAO — Government Accountability Office — had reported technical issues with the Blue Origin produced BE-4 engine that will power United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Vulcan Centaur’s first flight will launch Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine on a mission to land on the moon. That flight was scheduled for the end of 2021, but it has slipped into next year due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays with Peregrine.

NASA Space Technology Budget Request Fact Sheet

NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Space Technology
($ Millions)

The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops transformative, cross-cutting technologies that lead to research and technology breakthroughs to enable NASA’s missions and is broadening its focus on cross-cutting space technologies that will support creating good jobs in a growing space industry.

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NASA Artemis Program Faces Significant Challenges on Human Lunar Landing in 2024

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The combination of an ambitious schedule, technical challenges and immature technology will make it difficult for NASA to meet its goal of landing two astronauts on the moon in 2024, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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NASA Rover to Search for Water, Other Resources on Moon

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As part of the Artemis program, NASA is planning to send its first mobile robot to the Moon in late 2023 in search of ice and other resources on and below the lunar surface. Data from the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, would help the agency map resources at the lunar South Pole that could one day be harvested for long-term human exploration at the Moon. 

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NASA Awards $500K in First Phase of $5M Watts on the Moon Challenge

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded $500,000 to seven winning teams in Phase 1 of the agency’s Watts on the Moon Challenge. The technology design competition challenged U.S. innovators, from garage tinkerers to university researchers a­nd startup entrepreneurs, to imagine a next-generation energy infrastructure on the Moon.

Sixty teams submitted original design concepts aimed at meeting future needs for robust and flexible technologies to power human and robotic outposts on the Moon. After evaluation by a judging panel, NASA announced the winners during a private awards ceremony May 20.

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Astrobotic to Develop Wireless Charging System for Use on Moon with NASA Award

The Astrobotic CubeRover traverses the terrain in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory regolith bin on Dec. 10, 2020. Also in the bin is NASA’s Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR), a robotic platform designed to dig on the Moon. The regolith bin simulates the Moon’s surface. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Astrobotic will develop a wireless charging system for use on the lunar surface with the help of a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award.

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DLR to Land Radiation Instrument on Moon with Astrobotic Peregrine Mission One

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH, Pa., April 22, 2021 (Astrobotic PR) — The German Aerospace Center (DLR) joins a mission with Astrobotic to land a special German-built instrument on the Moon onboard Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander in 2021.  DLR will send this radiation detector to measure key radiation data on the flight to the Moon and on the lunar surface ahead of the upcoming NASA Artemis missions that will send the first woman and the next man to the Moon.

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Astrobotic Selects SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket for Griffin-VIPER Moon Mission

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today its selection of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in a competitive commercial procurement to launch its Griffin lunar lander to the Moon in late 2023. Griffin will be carrying NASA’s water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER). 

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NASA Selects Astrobotic for 2 Small Business Awards to Improve Spacecraft Operations

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to develop technology to help spacecraft improve proximity operations in orbit and avoid hazards when landing on other worlds.

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NASA JSC Receives Griffin Lunar Lander Model for Rover Testing

HOUSTON (Astrobotic Technology PR) — After being transported more than 1,300 miles, Astrobotic’s Griffin Lander Analog Model (GLAM) arrived at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) early this month. This model is an analog prototype of the Griffin lander that will deliver NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon in 2023. Astrobotic designed and constructed the GLAM at their “Moon Base” headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.

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