One Giant Leap for Lunar Landing Navigation Taken in Mojave

This map of the Moon shows the five candidate landing sites chosen by the Apollo Site Selection Board in February 1968. Photographs gathered during earlier uncrewed reconnaissance missions gave NASA information about terrain features. (Credit: NASA)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

MOJAVE, Calif., September 13, 2019 (NASA PR) — When Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, it first flew over an area littered with boulders before touching down at the Sea of Tranquility. The site had been selected based on photos collected over two years as part of the Lunar Orbiter program.

But the “sensors” that ensured Eagle was in a safe spot before touching down – those were the eyes of NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

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2017: A Year of Progress and Poised for the Future

ISARA’s three antenna panels feature a printed circuit board pattern that narrowly focuses the CubeSat’s radio transmission beam in much the same way a parabolic dish reflector does. (Credit: Nanoracks)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Throughout 2017, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) made noteworthy progress in maturing and demonstrating technologies to bolster America’s space agenda, while setting the stage for vital advancements within the next several years.

From expanding the utilization of space in low-Earth orbit and enabling new scientific discoveries, to advancing capabitilties for robotic and human exploration of deep space destinations – STMD is executing a broad cross-cutting agenda, one that is pioneering groundbreaking technologies and knowhow.

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NASA’s Exo-Brake ‘Parachute’ to Enable Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

Engineers pack the Technology Education Satellite (TechEdSat-5) with the Exo-Brake payload. At almost 4 square feet in cross section (0.35 square meters), the Exo-Brake is made of Mylar and is controlled by a hybrid system of mechanic struts and flexible cord. (Credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart)
Engineers pack the Technology Education Satellite (TechEdSat-5) with the Exo-Brake payload. At almost 4 square feet in cross section (0.35 square meters), the Exo-Brake is made of Mylar and is controlled by a hybrid system of mechanic struts and flexible cord. (Credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s “Exo-Brake” will demonstrate a critical technology leading to the potential return of science payloads to Earth from the International Space Station through the deployment of small spacecraft in early 2017.

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NASA Searches for Big Idea for In-Space Assembly of Spacecraft

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion, that transfer payloads from low earth orbit to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. (Credit: Analytical Mechanics Associates)
NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion, that transfer payloads from low earth orbit to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. (Credit: Analytical Mechanics Associates)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is engaging university-level students in its quest to reduce the cost of deep space exploration.

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NASA Tests Pop-up PUFFER Rover in Mojave Desert

The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)
The PUFFER team hiking to Rainbow Basin to identify areas for field testing. Examples include overhung rocks (top inset), incline with prototype (middle), and a large region for general mobility testing (bottom). (Credit: NASA)

By Denise M. Stefula
NASA

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots technology, or PUFFER, is readying a prototype for field testing in Southern California’s Mojave Desert through this summer and into the fall.

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SPHERES: From Class Project to Droids in Space

The three on-orbit SPHERES satellites fly in formation through the International Space Station, appearing like a squadron star fighters from the Star Wars universe. (Credit: NASA/ISS)
The three on-orbit SPHERES satellites fly in formation through the International Space Station, appearing like a squadron star fighters from the Star Wars universe. (Credit: NASA/ISS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Imagine you’re sitting in class watching a scene from “Star Wars” and your professor assigns a project meant to fly in space.

In 1999, that is exactly what happened for engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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