Lunar Gateway Instruments to Improve Weather Forecasting for Artemis Astronauts

Artist’s concept of the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element, or PPE, and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon. The gold box on the right side of the image depicts the HERMES payload. The ERSA payload is the silver box just below it. (Credits: NASA)

by Miles Hatfield
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — One of the first things people want to know before taking a trip is what the weather will be like wherever they are headed. For Artemis astronauts traveling on missions to the Moon, two space weather instrument suites, NASA’s HERMES and ESA’s ERSA, will provide an early forecast. Weather in this case means energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields hurtling through the solar system.


JAXA Spacecraft to Carry Science, Technology to the Space Station

HTV in flight (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) cargo ship H-II Transfer Vehicle-8 (HTV-8) is scheduled to lift off Sept. 10 at 5:33 p.m. EDT (6:33 a.m. Japan Standard Time) to the International Space Station from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center, 10 years after JAXA launched its first HTV mission. HTV-8 arrives at the space station on Sept. 14.

Here are details about some of the scientific investigations and facilities heading to the orbiting lab on HTV-8.


Hermes to Bring Asteroid Research to the ISS

Hermes Cassette-1 experiment. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Asteroid researchers on Earth will soon gain a powerful new way to remotely conduct experiments aboard the International Space Station. The device, called the Hermes Facility, is an experiment station that can communicate with scientists on the ground and give them the ability to control their studies almost as if they were in space themselves. Hermes will be carried to the space station aboard the SpaceX CRS-17 ferry flight.

Hermes is the creation of Dr. Kristen John, a researcher with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). John and her research team developed Hermes as a way to study how samples of simulated asteroid particles behave in microgravity and the vacuum of space.

Swiss Space Systems Seeking Investors

SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)
SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)

PAYERNE, Switzerland, August 20, 2014 (S3 PR) –– Swiss aerospace company Swiss Space Systems – S3 aims to become the world leader in the small satellite launch segment, a market bound for impressive growth estimated at over $ 240 billion by 2020, with over 200 satellites expected to be launched to orbit every year. S3 is now officially announcing ongoing and upcoming discussions with prospective financial and strategic investors to further strengthen its position of European leader in this booming market.


Hermes Hits $20,000 Crowd Sourcing Target

Congratulations to STAR Systems of Phoenix, which has hit its $20,000 fund-raising target on Kickstarter to fund work on its Hermes space plane.

A description of the spacecraft and the development effort from the company’s website is shown below:

The Hermes spacecraft, named after the ancient Greek god of boundaries and the people cross them, is a suborbital space shuttle for everyone, built on the premise that anyone should be able to take a trip into space without spending their life savings. It’s inspired by people like yourself who want to go into space but don’t want to spend a fortune to get there. “There aren’t too many people who get to be astronauts,” explains Morris Jarvis, the founder of STAR Systems and the Hermes spacecraft. “I think anybody who wants to fly into space should have that opportunity.”


Move Over Branson: AZ Man Builds Suborbital Vehicle in His Garage

UA graduate working on craft to take passengers 62 miles above Earth
Associated Press

“Morris Jarvis thinks we should be living in the age of the Jetsons, and he intends to make it happen. Jarvis, an engineer for Intel Corp., spends his spare time working on a space shuttle in the garage of his east Mesa home.

“His ambitions are lofty: to build a spacecraft that can launch passengers on a suborbital space flight and bring them back to Earth safely.

“He insists it isn’t a crazy pipe dream. The technology to build spacecraft is available off-the-shelf to entrepreneurs and inventors who know how to use it, he said.”

Another Software Guy Goes into the Space Hardware Biz

Intel software-engineer-turned-rocket-designer Morris Jarvis is hoping to give tourists a ride into space beginning next year for only $30,000 apiece – much less than the $200,000 that Virgin Galactic will be charging its millionauts.

The 22-foot-long carbon fiber Hermes vehicle – set for launch from a high-altitude helium balloon – lacks only a few things to make it a reality. Such as a wind tunnel to test it in. And about $1.5 million to build a full prototype. However, six-time shuttle astronaut Story Musgrave said he was impressed with the design when he saw a mock-up on display during a recent Intel developer forum in San Francisco.

Jarvis has issued a press release with more information. There’s also a website.