MOJAVE, Calif. — One of the big challenges faced by lunar landers and rovers is the 14-day lunar night. Temperatures can drop to minus 280 Fahrenheit (minus 173 Celsius), causing vehicle components to literally freeze to death before the sun reappears.
Masten Space Systems is working on a solution to the problem of frigid lunar nights with financing from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is seeking proposals for human lunar landing systems designed and developed by American companies for the Artemis program, which includes sending the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024.
The draft environmental assessment for SpaceX’s proposed expansion at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) also revealed that Elon Musk’s rocket company plans to most of more than 4,000 satellites of its planned Starlink constellation from Cape Canaveral.
That will guarantee a busy schedule for SpaceX’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at KSC and LC-40 at the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). LC-39A can accommodate Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters while LC-40 is configured for the Falcon 9.
MOJAVE, Calif. (Astrobotic PR) — When Astrobotic’s Griffin lander descends to the lunar surface, it will precisely target a small landing ellipse (a small area where it might land) and autonomously maneuver to avoid hazards such as rocks bigger than 25cm and slopes greater than 15°. In last month’s blog post, we introduced the landing sensor package and the concept of map registration – a technique that matches (“registers”) a location in an in-flight image to the same location on a map.
This week, an Astrobotic team led by Kevin Peterson is headed out to Masten Space Systems, located at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, CA, to fly the landing sensor package and software system on the Masten Xombie suborbital rocket.
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 8, 2013 (NGC PR) — Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed a feasibility study for a new commercial lunar lander for the Golden Spike Company (GSC). The study confirmed the viability of lander concepts for Golden Spike’s human lunar expedition architecture and conceived a novel new, low-mass ascent stage concept dubbed “Pumpkin.”
Video Caption: On Monday, June 13, the robotic lander mission team was poised and ready when the lander prototype in the adjacent building lifted itself off the ground and rose unrestrained higher and higher. Applause broke out in the control room when the lander gently sat back down. This marks the first free flight of this prototype for the Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The robotic lander flew up to 7 feet for 27 seconds.
NASA PR – March 3, 2011 — Today, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., began the first phase of integrated system tests on a new robotic lander prototype at Redstone Test Centerâ€™s propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, also in Huntsville. These tests will aid in the design and development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of performing science and exploration research on the surface of the moon or other airless bodies, including near-Earth asteroids.
NASA recently announced that it would be conducting contract negotiations for 350 projects under its SBIR and STTR programs, which are aimed at promoting space technology development by small businesses. Parabolic Arc will be looking at a number of the proposals involving NewSpace companies that it regularly covers or which involve interesting technologies.
Masten Space Systems
Terrestrial Plume Impingement Testbed
Robotic Systems for Human Exploration
Masten Space Systems proposes to create a terrestrial plume impingement testbed for generating novel datasets for extraterrestrial robotic missions. This testbed would allow rocket plume interactions with lunar, martian, and asteroid surface simulants in a fully instrumented, easy to access, and low cost environment using Masten Space’s existing VTVL suborbital launch vehicles.