Paragon and Northrop Grumman Finalize HALO Life Support Contract Valued in Excess of $100 Million

Artist illustration of Northrop Grumman’s HALO module and the Power Propulsion Element which form the first critical component of NASA’s Gateway. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 17, 2022 (Paragon SDC PR) — Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) is proud to announce that Northrop Grumman has finalized its contract with Paragon valued in excess of $100 million for the life support system of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) program. HALO will be deployed in lunar orbit as the first crew module of NASA’s Lunar Gateway. HALO will serve as both a crew habitat and docking station for spacecraft that will routinely travel between the Earth and the moon.

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Rep. Randy Weber Introduces U.S. Leadership in Space Act

Randy Weber

WASHINGTON D.C. (Randy Weber PR) – On Thursday,  January 13, 2022, Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX-14), introduced H.R. 6391, the U.S. Leadership in Space Act of 2021.

“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. It is important that Congress does the job it was intended to do: authorize, and then subsequently fund, critical government programs. Especially those that strengthen national security and scientific discovery.

“Space is an important domain for several reasons. As any military leader will tell you, whoever occupies the high ground has the strategic advantage. Continued inaction by Congress to adequately address the growing threats posed by an expanding uncontrolled debris field in earth’s orbit; the irresponsible and reckless anti-satellite missile tests by Russia that recently endangered the lives of astronauts (and cosmonauts) aboard the International Space Station (ISS); and the years of intellectual property theft, critical supply chain control, and other nefarious practices by China, require that Congress and this Administration come together to pass meaningful legislation that will ensure continued American preeminence in space.

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MDA Awarded Another Contract to Provide Lunar Landing Sensors as Number of Planned Moon Missions Increases

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly-expanding global space industry, today announced a contract with an undisclosed US-based space company for a key landing sensor for a 2023 mission to the Moon. This award was made as part of the company’s project involving NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

“Momentum is building as governments and private sector organizations work hand in glove on a shared mission that will take us back towards the Moon and beyond,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA. “MDA is proud to be part of that collaboration and we look forward to supporting the upcoming missions to the lunar surface where our robotics and sensor technologies will play an important enabling role.”

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Cheops Reveals a Rugby Ball-shaped Exoplanet

Artist impression of planet WASP-103b and its host star. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s exoplanet mission Cheops has revealed that an exoplanet orbiting its host star within a day has a deformed shape more like that of a rugby ball than a sphere. This is the first time that the deformation of an exoplanet has been detected, offering new insights into the internal structure of these star-hugging planets.

The planet, known as WASP-103b is located in the constellation of Hercules. It has been deformed by the strong tidal forces between the planet and its host star WASP-103, which is about 200 degrees hotter and 1.7 times larger than the Sun.

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NASA Prepares SLS Moon Rockets for First Crewed Artemis Missions

Casting and assembly of solid rocket booster, shown her, for the Artemis IV mission is underway at Northrop Grumman’s factory in Promontory, Utah. The booster motors for Artemis II and Artemis III have completed casting and are ready to go to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where they will be assembled with other booster hardware being prepared for the missions. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As teams continue to prepare NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its debut flight with the launch of Artemis I, NASA and its partners across the country have made great progress building the rocket for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission. The team is also manufacturing and testing major parts for Artemis missions III, IV and V.

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2021 in Review: Highlights from NASA in Silicon Valley

Ingenuity Mars helicopter flies on the Red Planet. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Join us as we look back at the highlights of 2021 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

1) NASA’s water-hunting Moon rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, made great strides this year. The VIPER team successfully completed practice runs of the full-scale assembly of the Artemis program’s lunar rover in VIPER’s new clean room. Two rounds of egress testing let rover drivers practice exiting the lander and rolling onto the rocky surface of the Moon. NASA also announced the landing site selected for the robotic rover, which will be delivered to the Nobile region of the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023 as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. NASA also chose eight new VIPER science team members and their proposals to expand and complement VIPER’s already existing science team and planned investigations. This year’s progress contributed to VIPER’s completion of its Critical Design Review, turning the mission’s focus toward construction of the rover beginning in late 2022.

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Callisto Technology Demonstration to Fly Aboard Orion for Artemis I

Artist’s impression of Orion over Earth. (Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

By Erika Peters
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Flying on NASA’s Orion spacecraft during the uncrewed Artemis I mission will be Callisto, a technology demonstration developed through a reimbursable space act agreement with Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Amazon, and Cisco to bring the Alexa digital assistant and Webex video collaboration aboard Orion’s first flight test in deep space.

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NASA Glenn Continued Research in 2021 for Space Exploration and Next-Gen Aeronautics

Credit: NASA

CLEVELAND, Ohio (NASA PR) — Looking deeper at the way fire behaves in space, Glenn researchers delivered the fifth in a series of NASA investigations in January. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment-V (Saffire-V) successfully tested larger, more dynamic fires for over 26 hours inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

As NASA Glenn continued to manage the difficulties of the pandemic, scientific and technology research continued at a rapid clip this year with an eye toward the future.

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NASA Selects New Members for Artemis Rover Science Team

VIPER rover on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — When NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, explores and samples the soils at the Moon’s South Pole, scientists anticipate it will reveal answers to some of the Moon’s enduring mysteries. Where is the water and how much is there? Where did the Moon’s water come from? What other resources are there?

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Norwegian Gas Meter Sent to International Space Station

ANITA-2 gas meter. (Credit; Norwegian Space Agency)

ANITA-2 has been developed by SINTEF in collaboration with ESA and OHB, and supported by the Norwegian Space Center.

By Berit Ellingsen

OSLO, Norway — At the International Space Station, it is not just a matter of opening a window if astronauts suspect the leak of one of the many gases used on board.

Here the air consists of the same gases as on earth: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases in small amounts. But both people, interior and equipment emit different trace gases. Several different types of spacecraft carry supplies and experiments to the space station, and they can also be a source of gases.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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Advanced Cooling Technologies to Develop Technologies to Allow Systems to Survive Lunar Night Using NASA Funding

Figure 1. Conceptual illustration of combined Thermal Switch and Variable Conductance Thermal Control System for Lunar Landers and Rovers. (a) During the day the electronics are generating heat and the thermal switch and VCHP is ON. Heat is rejected to the radiator and stored in the liquid Phase Change Material (PCM). (b) At night, the thermal switch is OFF, and the VCHP is shut down, with Non-Condensable Gas (NCG) blocking the condenser and adiabatic section. Thermal resistance between electronics and sink is maximum. The PCM cools down and freezes, supplying heat to maintain the temperature of the electronics. (Credit: Advanced Cooling Technologies)

LANCASTER, Pa. (ACT PR) — Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is excited to announce a $5 Million NASA Sequential Phase II SBIR Program Award, “Development of Lunar Vehicle and Payload Thermal Control Systems for Extreme Lunar Environments”.  As part of this project, ACT is subcontracting Astrobotic to provide their industry experience with lunar landers and rovers, including system-level architecture and critical design requirements. Astrobotic will validate the technology using their Peregrine lander, Griffin lander, and CubeRover thermal system architectures as a baseline.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Spacefaring Japanese Billionaire Maezawa Eyes Movie About Moneyless World

Soyuz MS-20 crew members Alexander Misurkin, Yusaku Maezawa and Yozo Hirano at a post-flight news conference. (Credit: CPK/Roscosmos)

Fresh off spending tens of millions of dollars for a 12-day trip to the International Space Station, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa wants to make a movie about a moneyless world. Right after spending hundreds of millions flying around the moon. TASS reports:

“I want to shoot movies about the no-money world. My explanation is not good so, people cannot understand what I imagine, so maybe I need a movie for understanding these things,” he said.

“In 2023, I will go on the flight to the Moon…, go to space again, and maybe after that,” Maezawa replied to a question about when his film should be expected to hit the screens. “In 2025 or 2026.”

Maezawa said in an interview with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin that the movie would serve to convey an idea about getting rid of money.

“Certainly, money will disappear from our world. We can imagine that,” Maezawa stated.

Sure. Why not?

NASA Announces Extension of International Space Station to 2030

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced today the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to extend International Space Station (ISS) operations through 2030, and to work with our international partners in Europe (ESA, European Space Agency)Japan (JAXA, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Canada (CSA, Canadian Space Agency), and Russia (State Space Corporation Roscosmos) to enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory through the rest of this decade.

“The International Space Station is a beacon of peaceful international scientific collaboration and for more than 20 years has returned enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit humanity. I’m pleased that the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to continuing station operations through 2030,” Nelson said. “The United States’ continued participation on the ISS will enhance innovation and competitiveness, as well as advance the research and technology necessary to send the first woman and first person of color to the Moon under NASA’s Artemis program and pave the way for sending the first humans to Mars. As more and more nations are active in space, it’s more important than ever that the United States continues to lead the world in growing international alliances and modeling rules and norms for the peaceful and responsible use of space.”

Over the past two decades, the United States has maintained a continuous human presence in orbit around the Earth to test technologies, conduct scientific research, and develop skills needed to explore farther than ever before. The unique microgravity laboratory has hosted more than 3,000 research investigations from over 4,200 researchers across the world and is returning enormous scientific, educational, and technological developments to benefit people on Earth. Nearly 110 countries and areas have participated in activities aboard the station, including more than 1,500,000 students per year in STEM activities.

Instruments aboard the ISS, used in concert with free-flying instruments in other orbits, help us measure the stresses of drought and the health of forests to enable improved understanding of the interaction of carbon and climate at different time scales. Operating these and other climate-related instruments through the end of the decade will greatly increase our understanding of the climate cycle.

Extending operations through 2030 will continue another productive decade of research advancement and enable a seamless transition of capabilities in low-Earth orbit to one or more commercially owned and operated destinations in the late 2020s. The decision to extend operations and NASA’s recent awards to develop commercial space stations together ensure uninterrupted, continuous human presence and capabilities; both are critical facets of NASA’s International Space Station transition plan.