Tag: moon

Surrey Satellite, Goonhilly Call for Lunar Orbit Payloads

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Lunar Pathfinder mission (Credit: SSTL)

Lunar Pathfinder mission (Credit: SSTL)

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (GES) have today announced a new partnership to go beyond Earth’s orbit and provide a new model of low cost, high value, space exploration and science. With the ultimate aim of supporting a Solar System network, the SSTL-GES Lunar Pathfinder mission and its successors will provide a system to transport payloads to the Moon together with communications links for these payloads and any other deployed assets back to the Earth.

The mission will support the international development and exploration of space, and the first mission will also provide a new opportunity to transport commercial payloads to lunar orbit. A call for flight opportunities for small lunar missions and payloads is now open and is hosted on a dedicated website www.goonhilly.org/lunar. The call targets the global space community from established space agencies, developing space nations, commercial entities, public and private organisations and universities.

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Moon Express Licenses Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complexes

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Bob Richards, co-founder and CE) of Moon Express Inc., of Moffett Field, California, speaks to the media Nov. 3 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. To the left of Richards is Greg Chavers, Lander Technologies project manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

Bob Richards, co-founder and CE) of Moon Express Inc., of Moffett Field, California, speaks to the media Nov. 3 at Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility. To the left of Richards is Greg Chavers, Lander Technologies project manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., July 12, 2016 (MoonEx PR) — Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) announced today that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Air Force 45th Wing to license the historic Space Launch Complexes 17 and 18 at Cape Canaveral for its lunar lander development and flight test operations. The announcement was made by company founder & CEO Bob Richards in a keynote address to over 300 attendees at the National Space Club Florida Committee luncheon today.

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GLXP Update: SpaceIL Tests Lunar Lander Engine

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SpaceIL engine test. (Credit: SpaceIL)

SpaceIL engine test. (Credit: SpaceIL)

TEL AVIV (SpaceIL PR) — SpaceIL recently tested the spacecraft’s main engine in a facility in England.

The purpose of the experiment was to test engine performance under conditions, which are similar to the expected conditions during the Moon landing. The test examined the engine’s reactions to different operating modes.

The test was a success after the engine showed durability to the requirements during various shutdown cycles, without overheating of the inside parts.

Since the maximum temperature the engine reached in the experiment has not exceeded the allowed range, it is expected to perform well in moment of truth. The positive results of the test increase the chances to successful landing on the Moon.

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New Horizons Given Mission Extension, Dawn to Stay at Ceres

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Artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker)

Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft encountering a Pluto-like object in the distant Kuiper Belt. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Following its historic first-ever flyby of Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons mission has received the green light to fly onward to an object deeper in the Kuiper Belt, known as 2014 MU69. The spacecraft’s planned rendezvous with the ancient object – considered one of the early building blocks of the solar system — is Jan. 1, 2019.

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Astrobotic Selects Lunar Mission Director

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Sharad Bhaskaran

Sharad Bhaskaran

PITTSBURGH, June 29, 2016 (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces the selection of Sharad Bhaskaran as Mission Director. A nationwide search was conducted for the new position and Bhaskaran stood out as a clear fit to lead the team, with 25 years of experience at Lockheed Martin successfully developing and managing payload projects for spaceflight applications.

“Sharad, with his extensive space experience, is a perfect fit to lead our team of world class partners including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus Defence and Space, Carnegie Mellon and NASA in the development of the Peregrine lunar lander,” said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

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Astrobotic Unveils New Lunar Lander, Partners with Airbus & DHL

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Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

  • DHL to manage logistics along the entire supply chain
  • Airbus Defence and Space to contribute engineering support for lander design
  • Astrobotic unveils new peregrine lunar lander

BERLIN (DHL PR) — Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces that DHL and Airbus Defence and Space are supporting Astrobotic to develop its lunar payload delivery service.

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International Partners Contribute CubeSats for First SLS Flight

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EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) will measure the distribution of plasma that surrounds the Earth to help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth. It will also demonstrate low-energy trajectory control techniques, such as multiple lunar flybys, within the Earth-Moon region. (Credit: JAXA/University of Tokyo)

EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) will measure the distribution of plasma that surrounds the Earth to help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth. It will also demonstrate low-energy trajectory control techniques, such as multiple lunar flybys, within the Earth-Moon region. (Credit: JAXA/University of Tokyo)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) will launch America into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond Earth’s orbit. On its first flight, NASA will demonstrate the rocket’s heavy-lift capability and send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into deep space. The agency will also take advantage of additional available mass and space to provide the rare opportunity to send more than a dozen small satellites, called CubeSats, to conduct experiments beyond low-Earth orbit. In addition to the 10 CubeSats announced earlier this year, the agency will be sending three from international partners.

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FAA AST Budget: A Million Here, A Million There

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faa_logoUPDATE: The commmitttee approved an amendment bringing the budget up to $19.826, which is what the Administration requested.

The House Appropriations Committee has recommended $18.826 million for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) for FY 2017, which is $1 million below the Obama Administration’s budget request.

The amount is $1 million above the enacted level for FY 2016.

“The recommended funding level will allow the Office of Commercial Space Transportation to add operational personnel to support an increased level of activity in its licensing, permitting and safety inspection functions,” the committee said in draft bill to be marked up on Tuesday.

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Lockheed Martin Lays Out Deep Space Exploration Plans

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Humanity Becomes an Interplanetary Species: Artist’s rendition of the Mars Base Camp architecture in Martian orbit. By leveraging developed technologies and the taxpayers’ investment in SLS and Orion, Lockheed Martin believes a human science Mission to Mars is feasible by 2028. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Artist’s rendition of the Mars Base Camp architecture in Martian orbit. By leveraging developed technologies and the taxpayers’ investment in SLS and Orion, Lockheed Martin believes a human science Mission to Mars is feasible by 2028. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

At a House Space Subcommittee meeting on Capitol Hill last week, several companies laid out plans for deep space exploration. Lockheed Martin Vice President Wanda A. Sigur discussed the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle the company is building for NASA, proposed cis-lunar space operations, and a Mars base camp orbiting the Red Planet.

Lockheed Martin of a number of companies working with NASA under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, which is a private-public partnership that focuses on advance concept studies and technology development projects for deep space exploration.

Relevant excerpt’s from Sigur’s prepared testimony follow.

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Orbital ATK Advocates Lunar Orbiting Base

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Cislunar station (Credit: Orbital ATK)

Cislunar station (Credit: Orbital ATK)

Former NASA Astronaut Frank Culbertson Proposes Four-Person Crew-Tended Lunar-Orbit Habitat to Be in Place by 2020

Company’s Flight-Proven Cygnus Spacecraft Could be Used as a Building-Block Habitat Leading to Lunar Research and Mars Exploration

Dulles, Va., 18 March 2016 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today advocated for a manned lunar-orbit outpost as America’s next step in human space exploration.

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ESA Develops Lunar Ice Drill

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Lunar ice drill (Credit: ESA/Finmeccanica)

Lunar ice drill (Credit: ESA/Finmeccanica)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A drill designed to penetrate 1–2 m into the lunar surface is envisaged by ESA to fly to the Moon’s south pole on Russia’s Luna-27 lander in 2020.

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China Eyes Human Mission to Moon in 2036

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Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

China is eying a human landing on the moon in about 20 years.

China wants to put astronauts on the moon by 2036, a senior space official said, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

China must “raise its abilities and use the next 15 to 20 years to realize manned lunar exploration goals, and take a firm step for the Chinese people in breaking ground in the utilization of space”, Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin, deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program, said.

The paper cited experts saying China needed first to develop a powerful enough rocket to lift a payload of at least 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit. It also needs more advanced technology, including new space suits, for a lunar mission.

China’s space budget is still only about one-tenth of the United States’ outlays, officials have said. According to Chinese state media, China spends about $2 billion a year on its space program, though details are vague.

NASA Selects ISRU Projects for SBIR Awards

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NASA LOGONASA has selected eight research projects focused on in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research Phase I program.

The selected projects include:

  • Extraterrestrial Metals Processing — Pioneer Astronautics
  • Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad — Honeybee Robotics
  • Extruded Clay-Based Regoliths for Construction on Mars, Phobos and NEAs — Deep Space Industries
  • In-Situ Generation of Polymer Concrete Construction Materials — Luna Innovations
  • ISP3: In-Situ Printing Plastic Production System for Space Additive Manufacturing — Altius Space Machines
  • Compact In-Situ Polyethylene Production from Carbon Dioxide — Opus 12
  • Micro-Channel Reactor for Processing Carbon Dioxide to Ethylene — Reactive Innovations
  • OpenSWIFT-SDR for STRS Polyethylene Production from In-Situ Resources in Microchannel Reactors — TDA Research

Full descriptions of the projects are below.

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Video: Moon Express’ Bob Richards on a Private Lunar Mission

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Video Caption: The health of our home planet and the survival of our species will only be secured through the use of space resources and the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere to the Moon and beyond. Creating an off-Earth economy and multi-planet civilization will safeguard the long term prospects of humanity.

Bob Richards is Co-Founder and CEO of Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx), a privately funded lunar transportation and space resource development company, striving to become the first commercial company to land on the Moon, a challenge only accomplished by 3 superpowers in history. Located at Cape Canaveral, Moon Express has contracted for 3 launches to the Moon with Rocket Lab between 2017 and 2020, is partnered with NASA under its Lunar CATALYST program, and is one of only two teams in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition with a verified launch contract.

In this talk Bob Richards outlines Moon Express and it plans to develop lunar resources, and how this goal has set in motion technological, political, legal and regulatory precedents that will allow humanity to rationally and peacefully embrace and develop the Moon as the world’s eighth continent.

NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for 2 STTR & 5 SBIR Awards

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for two Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) and five Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I awards.

The selected proposals include:

  • STTR: Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad (Partnered with Michigan Technological University)
  • STTR: In-Situ Spectroscopic Europa Explorer (Partnered with SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center)
  • SBIR: The Stinger: A Geotechnical Sensing Package for Robotic Scouting on a Small Planetary Rover
  • SBIR: Planetary Vacuum Cleaner for Venus and Mars
  • SBIR: Dust-Tolerant, High Pressure Oxygen Quick Disconnect for Advanced Spacesuit and Airlock Applications
  • SBIR: Strut Attachment System for In-Space Robotic Assembly
  • SBIR: High Temperature Joint Actuator

Descriptions of the research projects follow.
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