MSU Researchers to Send Computer Prototype to the Moon

A MSU computer prototype that was tested aboard the space station, shown here on Oct. 24, 2016, resembles the new version that will go to the moon. (Credit: MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez)

by Marshall Swearingen
MSU News Service

BOZEMAN, Mont. — In their quest to develop an improved computer that could one day be used in NASA spacecraft, Montana State University researchers have tinkered with their creation on the laboratory bench, dangled it from high-altitude helium balloons, sent it to the International Space Station and launched it into Earth’s orbit on a bread loaf-sized satellite. Now it will go to the moon.

NASA announced earlier this month that an MSU team led by Brock LaMeres has won a coveted spot on a 2020-2021 lunar mission that will be the biggest trial yet for the radiation-tolerant computing concept LaMeres conceived more than a decade ago.

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Astrobotic Awarded NASA Study Contract for Polar Mission to the Moon

Griffin lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic announces today it was one of two companies selected by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to study the first payload delivery mission to the South Pole of the Moon. The mission would deliver NASA payloads to investigate lunar volatile elements such as hydrogen and oxygen, which could one day be used by NASA and the private sector for astronaut life support and in-space rocket fuel.

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Mission Control Secures $250k from Canadian Space Agency to Develop Commercial Lunar Mission Software

OTTAWA, Ont. (Mission Control PR) — Mission Control is excited to announce the support of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for their ongoing development of Mission Control Software for the next generation of commercial space exploration missions. Through the Space Technology Development Program, the CSA will contribute $250k [USD $187,441] to the development of this technology which will help position Mission Control to participate in near term robotic missions to the Moon.

“With ongoing programs such as NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service, a new wave of commercial space exploration is about to break,” said Dr. Michele Faragalli, Chief Technology Officer of Mission Control. “Rovers and other robotic systems will play an essential role in commercial exploration of the Moon.” Current rover technology is expensive and requires continuous management by operators back on Earth. Rover based exploration will be more cost-effective if more tasks can be performed autonomously onboard, and with more flexible options available for the mission operators on earth.

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NASA Tasks OrbitBeyond with Commercial Lunar Lander Mission

Orbit Beyond of Edison, New Jersey, has proposed to fly as many as four payloads to a lava plain in one of the Moon’s craters. (Credit: Orbit Beyond)

PORT ORANGE, Fla. (Orbit Beyond PR) — NASA announced today that OrbitBeyond has been selected as one of the first robotic missions to carry NASA science payloads to the surface of the Moon under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program, ushering in a new era of deep space commercial services in support of NASA’s plans to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024.

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NASA Awards $77.2 Million Contract to Inituitive Machines for Lunar Lander

Intuitive Machines of Houston has proposed to fly as many as five payloads to a scientifically intriguing dark spot on the Moon. (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

HOUSTON, May 31, 2019 – Intuitive Machines will join NASA’s new era of lunar exploration with a robotic landing on the Moon in 2021, under a contract award announced today by NASA.

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Astrobotic Awarded $79.5 Million Contract to Deliver 14 NASA Payloads to Moon

Astrobotic of Pittsburgh has proposed to fly as many as 14 payloads to a large crater on the near side of the Moon. (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH and WASHINGTON, DC (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic was selected today by NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in July 2021. With this $79.5 million CLPS award, Astrobotic has now secured 28 payloads for lunar delivery as part of its first mission. Fifty years after Apollo 11, Pittsburgh’s Astrobotic is returning America back to the Moon in partnership with NASA.

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NASA to Announce Selection of Science Commercial Moon Landing Services on Friday

Moon (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will announce the next major step in the Artemis program’s lunar surface exploration plans during a NASA Science Live broadcast at 1 p.m. EDT Friday, May 31. The announcement will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Paving the way to return astronauts to the surface of the Moon, and ultimately Mars, NASA will announce the selection of the first commercial Moon landing service providers that will deliver science and technology payloads as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). These missions will acquire new science measurements and enable important technology demonstrations, whose data will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for astronauts to return to the Moon by 2024.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, will host this special edition of NASA Science Live.

The public can send questions during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.

Following the announcement, NASA will host a media teleconference at 2:30 p.m.

The teleconference audio will stream live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

For more information about NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration plans, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/moontomars

Masten Space Systems Selected for NASA SBIR Award

Mojave’s Masten Space Systems has been selected for a NASA contract to continue development of technology that will improve the 3-D manufacturing of rocket engine injectors.

Masten work on its PermiAM system will be funded under a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award. The contract is worth up to $750,000.

“Masten is currently focusing on the propulsion elements of PermiAM with direct applicability to small satellite launch vehicles, upper stage engines, and planetary landers in support of the NASA [Commercial Lunar Payload Services] program,” the company said in its proposal summary.

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Challenging Ourselves to Create the Next Generation of Lunar Explorers

Moon (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Space exploration brings humanity some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. We faced this hard fact on April 11 when the Beresheet spacecraft developed by Israel’s SpaceIL failed to successfully land on the Moon’s surface. While the Beresheet spacecraft can claim many accomplishments, including being the first privately funded lunar spacecraft, we can learn many things from its failures. These are lessons we, too, must consider as NASA tries to conquer similar challenges as we move forward to the Moon with commercial and international partners.

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Partnerships Between NASA and Industry Can Support Lunar Exploration, Say Two New Reports

The space station formerly known as the Deep Space Gateway (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (National Academies PR) – Renewed interest in exploration of the moon has the potential to benefit lunar science greatly and could evolve into a program facilitated by partnerships between commercial companies and NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), say companion reports by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Review of the Planetary Science Aspects of NASA SMD’s Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative and Review of the Commercial Aspects of NASA SMD’s Lunar Science and Exploration Initiative laud the rapid and effective steps the agency’s science directorate has taken in responding to a 2017 presidential directive to lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners, beginning with a near-term focus on the moon.

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Mojave’s Masten Space Systems Selected for NASA CLPS Lunar Program

Lunar lander (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

MOJAVE, CA, November 29 , 2018 (Masten Space Systems PR) – Masten Space Systems has been awarded NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) IDIQ contract vehicle to deliver payloads to the lunar service. CLPS is a multi-award contract worth $2.6B over the duration of its 10 year performance period. The contract funds launch, landing, and lunar surface systems with first missions targeted as early as 2021.

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Deep Space Systems Teams with Intuitive Machines for NASA Lunar Delivery Program

Concept art for rover. (Credit: Deep Space Systems)

Picture Caption (via Facebook): Concept art of the new lunar rover proposed by Deep Space Systems Inc., one of nine vendors awarded a contract on November 29 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program. Well done, Michelle Caillouet Bailey, Stephen Bailey, and the whole Deep Space Team!

Editor’s Note: Deep Space Systems is partnered with Intuitive Machines, which is another of the nine companies chosen from the CLPS program.

Lockheed Martin to Deliver NASA Payloads to Moon with Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander

McCandless lunar lander (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

DENVER, Nov. 29, 2018 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) will apply its expertise in interplanetary spacecraft to a new program designed to deliver commercial payloads to the surface of the Moon. NASA announced today they have selected Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander to provide payload delivery services as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract.

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OrbitBeyond Teams with Team Indus, Honeybee Robotics for NASA Lunar Program

Video Caption: OrbitBeyond has been awarded the master contract by NASA for its CLPS program to carry scientific & commercial payloads to the Moon: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/na…

The Engineering team at OrbitBeyond is led by Jeff Patton, former Development Program Systems Engineering and Integration Manager at ULA.

OrbitBeyond has engaged TeamIndus for Lander engineering, Honeybee Robotics for payload integration, Advanced Space for mission management, Ceres Robotics for surface operations, and Apollo Fusion for future programs.

About OrbitBeyond

OrbitBeyond. Inc, is a cislunar transportation company committed to providing global customers with reliable, repeated and affordable services to the lunar surface. We are developing delivery platforms at a cost and scale that will enable rapid and sustained space exploration.