ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Joint Statement
The International Space Station (ISS) Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) met on August 6, 2019. Its members acknowledged the recent 50th anniversary of the first human steps on
the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 mission, praised the ongoing
important work of the ISS, and discussed opportunities for the future of
human exploration on and around the Moon and forward to Mars.
BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA, a Maxar company (NYSE: MAXR) (TSX: MAXR), has been awarded two contracts from the Canadian Space Agency for work on Phase A of the Gateway External Robotic Interfaces project.
Nothing illustrates the changes wrought by the Trump Administration’s decision to move up the deadline for returning astronauts to the moon from 2028 to 2024 than a pair of contracts NASA awarded for the Lunar Gateway that will serve as a staging point for the landing.
In May, Maxar won a competitively awarded $375 million contract to build the Gateway’s Power and Propulsion Element (PPE). NASA released a source selection statement that detailed how officials evaluated the five bids they received and why Maxar’s proposal was superior to the others.
We have received many inquires about what is going on with the Gateway program. As many of you have already read it appears that negotiations are already underway between NASA and Northrop Grumman for a modified “mini hab” that is going to be docked to the PPE. What we think we know is that NASA wants to use a modified version of the Cygnus cargo vehicle, which is built by Thales Alenia. The current use of the Cygnus is to haul supplies to the ISS and dispose of trash by burning up in the atmosphere.
What has also been discussed is that the Cygnus would be converted
to a structure with multiple docking ports. Our understanding at this time is that this structure would internally not have
life support systems that without being attached to another structure wouldn’t keep people alive. We agree that a multi-port
docking node is a valuable asset.
We have also been told by NASA that there is some future possibility
to expect the emergence
of a domestic habitat someday. As always, that is precisely what
Bigelow is interested in building. In fact, our habitat is
actually a standalone space station. We think the B330 standalone
space station would make an excellent low altitude lunar depot.
Someday if NASA were to give us the green light, we would be very
excited to be part of the Gateway program, a future low-level
lunar depot program or to even land a lunar base on the moon.
NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) a contract of an undisclosed amount to modify its Cygnus space station resupply vehicle to serve as the minimal habitation module (MHM) for the Lunar Gateway.
Northrop Grumman won out over four competitors that had won contracts to develop mockup habitats under the space agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) program.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In a major step toward returning astronauts to the surface of the Moon under the Artemis lunar exploration program and preparing for future missions to Mars, NASA is seeking comments from American companies interested in providing an integrated human landing system to put the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.
PARIS (ESA PR) — NASA and ESA have a long term plan for Europe to deliver the European Service Modules for Orion. With NASA’s announcement to bring humans back to the lunar surface before the end of 2024, it was also decided that the third ESA-provided European Service Module will contribute to this mission.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Mission planners at NASA and ESA’s Operations Centre (ESOC) have spent months debating the pros and cons of different orbits, and have now decided on the path of the lunar Gateway.
Like the International Space Station, the Gateway will
be a permanent and changeable human outpost. Instead of circling our
planet however, it will orbit the Moon, acting as a base for astronauts
and robots exploring the lunar surface.
NASA selected three projects from Paragon Space Development Corporation of Tucson, Arizona for funding in its recent round of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards. Each contract is worth a maximum of $125,000 over six months.
Paragon’s Separation Technology of On-Orbit Liquid and Excrement (STOOLE) project is pretty much what it sounds like: an improved system for recycling human waste in space.
NASA selected two projects for funding focused on developing in-space welding technologies as part of its recent round of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards.
The space agency selected Busek Company of Natick, Mass., and Made in Space of Jacksonville, Fla., for phase 1 awards worth up to $125,000 apiece for six months.
“Busek proposes to initiate the development of a semi-autonomous, teleoperated welding robot for joining of external (or internal metallic uninhabited volume at zero pressure) surfaces in space,”according to the proposal summary. “This welding robot will be an adaptation of a versatile Busek developed system called SOUL (Satellite On Umbilical Line) with a suitable weld head attached to it.
During the 1970’s, David Bowie sang about Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars. If Tethers Unlimited has its way, the Red Planet will be crawling with them.
Earlier this month, NASA selected the Bothell, Washington-based company for a small business award to work on its Sensing and Positioning in Deep Environments with Retrieval (SPIDER) surface exploration system.
In the latest step in sending astronauts to the lunar surface within five years, NASA issued a draft solicitation June 14 to industry seeking comments for a future opportunity for American companies to deliver cargo and other supplies to the Gateway in lunar orbit.
The first logistics service to the orbital outpost is expected to deliver science, cargo and other supplies in support of the agency’s new Artemis lunar exploration program, which includes sending the first woman and the next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft will soar toward the Moon atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket as part of the agency’s Artemis program to establish a permanent presence at the Moon and learn the skills needed to send humans to Mars. Crew members will journey aboard Orion with the confidence knowing the spacecraft is specifically designed with a number of features to support humans traveling to deep space, including a highly capable Launch Abort System (LAS). The LAS is a structure on top of the crew module that can fire within milliseconds and, with the crew module attached, outrun the powerful rocket if an emergency arises during launch.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA achieved a significant milestone in manufacturing the first large, complex core stage that will help power the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on upcoming missions to the Moon. NASA and lead contractor Boeing have assembled four-fifths of the massive core stage needed to launch SLS and the Orion spacecraft on their first mission to the Moon: Artemis 1.
Even as NASA’s plans for the Lunar Gateway evolve, the space agency is continuing work on developing a habitat for the crew that will use the facility as an orbiting base for the study of the Moon.
Marshall Smith, the space agency’s director of Human Lunar Exploration Programs, gave a press report on habitat development to the NASA Advisory Council Human Exploration & Operations Committee last week.
Five companies were commission to produce prototypes for evaluation and testing: Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada Corporation.
Smith’s presentation did not include a slide on Bigelow Aerospace’s prototype module.