Tag: moon

China Launches Lunar Sample Return Precursor Mission

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4M payload (Credit: LuxSpace)

4M payload (Credit: LuxSpace)

China has launched a spacecraft to the moon designed to pave the way for a future lunar sample return mission.

The spacecraft, launched today aboard a Long March 3C rocket, will circle the moon and then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in a test of its navigation system and heat shield. It is a precursor for the Chang’e-5 sample return mission set to launch around 2017.

The Long March 3C upper stage, which will also loop around the moon, is carrying LuxSpace’s M4 payload. The payload includes an amateur radio beacon and a radiation sensor.

“This is the first ever privately funded mission to the moon and it happens 45 years after the first landing on the moon,” saide Jochen Harms, managing director of LuxSpace.

M4 stands for Manfred Memorial Moon Mission. The mission honors Manfred Fuchs, the founder of  LuxSpace’s parent company OHB, who died 0n April 26, 2014.

Peter Thiel: Progress Ended After Apollo 11 Landed and the Hippies Took Over

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Uber Silicon Valley libertarian VC Peter Thiel and uber nutcase Glenn Beck discuss how to fight the growing influence of uber commie Karl Marx on American society.

Seriously.

Apparently Marx more popular than Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson. Not George.

Thiel also think that progress stopped after Apollo 11 landed on the moon and the hippies took over at Woodstock the following month.

No, I’m not kidding. You can’t make stuff like this up.

Beck then complains that we’re all maxed out on virtual things. To Peter Thiel. The guy who helped make Facebook possible.

And Thiel agrees. Sort of.  Except for that whole Facebook thing.

Watch the whole thing.

Honeybee Robotics Wants to Vacuum the Moon

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GLXP Update: Tuxera Sponsors Hungary’s Team Puli Space

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GLXP_Team_Puli_Rover
Helsinki, Finland and Budapest, Hungary, September 15, 2014 (Tuxera/Team Puli PR) –
Tuxera Inc., the market leader in file system and streaming technologies, announced today a sponsorship agreement with Hungary’s Team Puli Space in its mission to send an unmanned robotic probe to the Moon. Team Puli is participating in the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, an unprecedented competition challenging privately funded teams to successfully land a spacecraft on the lunar surface that travels at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and imagery back to earth.

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Space Services Acquires Odyssey Moon

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odysseymoonlogoHOUSTON, September 9, 2014 (SSHI PR) — Space Services Holdings, Inc. (SSHI) of Houston, Texas, today announced the acquisition of Odyssey Moon Ltd. and the addition of key industry veterans to its Board of Directors, signaling an ambitious expansion in the global commercial space market.

Space Services, already an established space industry leader with its iconic Celestis memorial spaceflights, makes these announcements on the heels of exclusive commercial partnerships with NASA and NOAA for the Sunjammer solar sail mission. The acquisition of Odyssey Moon, an Isle of Man headquartered company, situates Space Services as an emerging global pioneer in commercial lunar missions as well.

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LunarCubes Workshop Set for October in Sunnyvale

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AAC Microtec CubeSats (Credit: NASA)

AAC Microtec CubeSats (Credit: NASA)

SUNNYVALE, Calif., September 02, 2014 (Press Release) – The 4th International Workshop on LunarCubes will be held from October 7-10, 2014 in Sunnyvale, CA, and will provide detailed information about developing technologies and available opportunities in the CubeSat and LunarCubes area. Find out how these small satellites are being used to explore space and their enormous potential in opening the Lunar Frontier.

Russell Cox, sponsor and CEO of Flexure Engineering notes, “The Lunar Renaissance has begun and LunarCubes will be the paving stones in the flexible path back to the Moon and on to the rest of the Solar System. Join us as we pave the path to the future at our International Workshop on LunarCubes October 7 -10, 2014.”

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Putin Visits Vostochny, Tells Officials to Hurry Up

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Vladimir Putin inspects construction at Vostochny. (Credit:  Presidential Press and Information Office)

Vladimir Putin inspects construction at Vostochny. (Credit: Presidential Press and Information Office)

Russian President for Life Vladimir Putin paid a visit to the new Vostochny spaceport on Tuesday, telling officials there to get back on schedule, hire more workers and stay within budget.

“I would like to stress that at this point construction work at the launch pad and technical support facilities is lagging behind 30 to 55 days,” Putin said. He called for paying “due attention to that.”

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Long-Term Russian Space Plans Target Moon

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moon_rise_half
A draft 10-year plan for the Russian space program lays out an ambitious agenda that will see Russian cosmonauts occupying a lunar base in the early 2030′s.

According to Russian media reports, the 2016-25 plan includes funding for:

  • a new super heavy booster to support human deep space exploration;
  • a Soyuz replacement capable of carrying cosmonauts to the moon and other destinations;
  • an extensive program of robotic exploration of the moon that would precede human exploration; and,
  • development of technologies required to build a lunar base in the early 2030′s.

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Is China Planning Test of Human Lunar Vehicle?

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shenzhou1Toward the end of the year, China will launch a spacecraft to the moon that will return for a soft landing on Earth.  Officially, this is a test of a ship that will return soil samples from the moon, but Morris Jones suspects there’s more to it than that:

This analyst also suspects that China is also testing technology for a future Chinese astronaut launch to the Moon. The re-entry capsule is a scale replica of the capsule used on China’s Shenzhou astronaut spacecraft.

China has not released a lot of information on the mission, and has not even revealed any diagrams or photographs of the entire spacecraft. We have seen the re-entry module in photographs, but little else….

We believed that China would fly this mission in a free-return trajectory to the Moon. This meant that the spacecraft would fly around the far side of the Moon and use the Moon’s gravity to sling it back to Earth.

This mission profile was used by the Soviet Union’s “Zond” lunar probes, which were themselves tests for a cosmonaut launch to the Moon that never happened. A free-return trajectory was also used to bring the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission back to Earth.

Recently, a story published by China’s state news agency Xinhua gave a different perspective. It claims that the spacecraft will actually enter orbit around the Moon.

Read the full story.

NASA Funds Additional Smallsat Research Projects

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Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

With CubeSats and other types of small satellites are being launched in increasing numbers, there’s a race on to develop new technologies to vastly improve their capabilities and extend their range to the moon, Mars and other deep space destinations.

NASA has been at the leading edge of this technology development effort. Last week, the space agency announced its plans to fund four small-satellite research projects. The projects include phase II funding for three Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program proposals and one NASA Innovative Advance Concepts (NIAC) proposal.

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