Tag: moon

Moon Express Tests Lunar Lander at Kennedy Space Center

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MTV-1X vehicle in full tether mode. (Credit: Moon Express)

MTV-1X vehicle in full tether mode. (Credit: Moon Express)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA is working with U.S. industry to develop the capabilities and cutting-edge technologies that will help send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. To achieve this goal, space travelers will need the resources to survive during long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other outer planets.

Moon Express Inc., of Moffett Field, California, is one of three companies selected for the agency’s new Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative to advance lander capabilities that will enable delivery of payloads to the surface of the moon.

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Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline as Astrobotic’s Entry Wins First Milestone Awards

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Astrobotic lander (Credit: Mark Maxwell)

Astrobotic lander (Credit: Mark Maxwell)

The deadline for winning the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize has been moved back again. The XPrize Foundation has announced a one-year delay in the prize to Dec. 31, 2016, contingent upon at least one team providing “documentation of a scheduled launch by December 31, 2015, for all teams to move forward in the competition.”

The foundation also announced that Astrobotic and its partner, Carnegie Melon University (CMU), had won the first two of a series of milestone awards aimed at providing funding to the teams. XPrize and Google will award up to $6 million in milestone prizes next month.

“We continue to see significant progress from our Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, most recently demonstrated in the pursuit of the Milestone Prizes, in which teams exhibited substantial technological achievements that will ultimately support their missions,” Robert K. Weiss, XPRIZE vice chairman and president, said in a press release.

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Send Your Momentos to the Moon with Astrobotic’s MoonMail

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Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH, PA, Dec. 11, 2014 (Astrobotic PR) – In time for the holiday and gift giving season, Astrobotic Technology Inc. announced the launch of MoonMail™, a program for the public to send mementos to the Moon on Astrobotic’s first commercial lunar mission. With the starting price at $460, this exciting new offering from Astrobotic is an opportunity to commemorate major life events – graduations, weddings, birthdays, a loved one’s memory – with a lasting symbol on the Moon.

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China Outlines Space Station, Moon and Mars Plans

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The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)

The crew of Shenzhou-10 after 15 days in space. (Credit: CNSA)

Lei Fanpei, chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), have given journalists an outline of the China’s plans for it space program over the next 15 years:

China hopes to put a rover on Mars around 2020, complete a manned space station around 2022 and test a heavy carrier rocket around 2030, a top space scientist revealed Sunday.

A feasibility study on the country’s first Mars mission is completed and the goal is now to send an orbiter and rover to Mars….

The Tiangong-2 space lab will be launched around 2016 along with the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft and Tianzhou-1 cargo ship. Around 2018, a core experimental module for the station will be put in place.

By around 2022, China’s first orbiting space station should be completed. It will consist of three parts — a core module attached to two labs, each weighing about 20 tonnes.

A powerful carrier rocket is essential for a manned moon landing.

The rocket is envisaged as having a payload capacity of 130 tonnes to low Earth orbit. Once in service, it will help with missions between 2030 and 2050, and secure China’s position in terms of space exploration and technology.

 

ESA Looks Toward Expansion, Deeper International Cooperation

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Credit: ESA

Credit: ESA

The 20-member European Space Agency (ESA) is looking to rapidly add two more nations to its list of member states while deepening cooperation with five other European countries, according to a resolution approved by ESA ministers on Tuesday.

In addition, ESA is looking at “seizing future cooperation opportunities” offered by its three strategic partners — the United States, Russia and China — while improving cooperation with new emerging space powers outside of Europe.

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Preview of the ESA Ministerial Meeting

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ESA ministerial meeting in Naples. (Credit: ESA)

ESA ministerial meeting in Naples. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 27 November 2014 (ESA PR) The next Council at Ministerial Level (C/M 14) for the European Space Agency (ESA) takes place in Luxembourg on 2 December. The main topics for decision are reflected in three Resolutions:

  • the Resolution on Europe’s access to space, which recognises the strategic and socio-economic value for Europe to maintain an independent, reliable and affordable access to space for institutional and commercial European customers and underlines the new governance principles related to the exploitation of Europe’s next launcher, Ariane 6, and of the evolution of Vega, Vega-C;
  • the Resolution on Europe’s space exploration strategy, addressing ESA’s three destinations (low-Earth orbit (LEO), Moon and Mars) and, for the LEO destination, in particular the International Space Station (ISS) Programme; and, finally,
  • the Resolution on ESA evolution.

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Carnegie Mellon Unveils Rover for Google Lunar X Prize Competition

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William "Red" Whittaker with Andy the lunar rover. (Credit: CMU)

William “Red” Whittaker with Andy the lunar rover. (Credit: CMU)

By Byron Spice
Carnegie Mellon Univesity

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University today unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled robot designed to scramble up steep slopes and survive the temperature swings and high radiation encountered while exploring the moon’s pits, caves and polar ice.

“Every extraterrestrial robot carries some DNA from Carnegie Mellon, but Andy would be the first true CMU robot to make the leap from Earth,” said William “Red” Whittaker, professor of robotics and director of the Field Robotics Center. “This is the culmination of lots of work by lots of people and is the next step toward Carnegie Mellon becoming a spacefaring university.”

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Lunar Mission One Crowdsourcing to Moon’s South Pole

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Lunar Mission One lander (Credit: Lunar Missions)

Lunar Mission One lander (Credit: Lunar Missions)

LONDON (Lunar Missions PR) — Lunar Mission One, an ambitious and pioneering lunar mission, has been announced today. The mission is raising initial development funding through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, giving people from around the world the opportunity to support and be a part of the mission.

As overall technical advisors for the first stage of the project, Lunar Mission One has engaged RAL Space, which has been involved in developing more than 200 space missions and has supported NASA and European Space Agency missions.

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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.