Tag: moon

GXLP Update: Audi AG Supports Part-Time Scientists Moon Bid

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Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)

Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)

INGOLSTADT, Germany (Audi PR) — Audi is taking off for the moon – along with the Part-Time Scientists. Nearly 45 years after NASA’s Apollo 17 completed the last manned mission to the moon, the cooperating partners have selected the old landing site of Apollo 17 as the new target.

A group of German engineers in the Part-Time Scientists team is working within the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition to transport an unmanned rover to the moon. Audi is supporting the Part-Time Scientists with its know-how in several fields of technology – from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.

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Video: New Moon Race Nearly 8 Years Old

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Video Caption: From 2007-2010, 29 teams from 16 countries registered to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Today, 16 teams from 13 countries remain in the competition. They now have 6 months left to secure a contract for their launch to the moon. Welcome to the new space race.

Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline Again

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GoogleLunarXPRIZE_Logo
The Google Lunar X Prize has once again extended its deadline, this time to Dec. 31, 2017. The announcement comes six months after the $30 million competition extended its deadline from Dec. 31, 2015 to the end of 2016.

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Moon Express Announces Multi-Mission Payload Agreement

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me-word-logo2“MoonLIGHT” Lunar Laser Ranging Array Will Bring New Insights into General Relativity

Frascati, Italy, May 15th, 2015 (Moon Express PR) – Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx) has announced a multi-mission payload agreement with The National Laboratories of Frascati (INFN-LNF) and the University of Maryland to deliver a new generation of lunar laser ranging arrays to the Moon. Under the agreement, “MoonLIGHT” instruments will be carried on the first four Moon Express missions and used in conjunction with Apollo Cube Corner (CCR) Retroreflector arrays to test principles of Einstein’s General Relativity theory, add to international scientific knowledge of the Moon, and increase lunar mapping precision that will support the company’s future lander missions.

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Honeybee Robotics Developing Prospector Spacecraft That Can Refuel Itself

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for four Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and one Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) Phase I contracts, including one that would help develop a resource prospecting spacecraft capable of refueling itself using in-situ resources.

The five proposals include:

  • The World is Not Enough (WINE): Harvesting Local Resources for Eternal Exploration of Space (STTR)
  • Planetary Volatiles Extractor for In Situ Resource Utilization (SBIR)
  • Development of a Hermetically Sealed Canister for Sample Return Missions (SBIR)
  • Lunar Heat Flow Probe (SBIR)
  • Miniaturized System-in-Package Motor Controller for Spacecraft and Orbital Instruments (SBIR)

WINE, which is being done with the University of Central Florida in Orlando, involves a 3D-printed CubeSat that would be able to refuel itself by extracting in-situ resources. The spacecraft would be able to land on an asteroid or moon, examine the location, and fly to another location using the water it extracted in its thruster system.

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Posey Introduces Measure Calling for Return to Moon by 2023

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moon_rise_half
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) has introduced a measure directing NASA to plan a return to the moon within eight years and the establishment of a permanent presences there.

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall plan to return to the Moon by 2023 and develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, in order to promote exploration, commerce, science, and United States preeminence in space as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations,” the measure reads. “The budget requests and expenditures of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall be consistent with achieving this goal.”

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Space Symposium Briefs: Stratolaunch, Falcon 9, CST-100, UAE to Mars & Lunar Bases

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Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell

I’ve been monitoring the Twittersphere for news out of the 31st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. There have been a few interesting items of note:

  • Stratolaunch President Chuck Beames says the company is considering other air-launch rockets in addition to the one being built by Orbital ATK for use with its massive six engine carrier aircraft. The Orbital ATK rocket is for medium payloads but won’t be ready for several years. Stratolaunch is looking at smaller rockets that could be developed more rapidly and help with more near-term revenue.
  • SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell says the company’s next attempt to recover a Falcon 9 first stage may occur over land rather than on a barge at sea. SpaceX is building landing facilities at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base.
  • Boeing plans to reveal the crew of its first CST-100 flight test this summer. The crew for the planned 2017 test will include one Boeing test pilot and one NASA astronaut.
  • The new United Arab Emirates Space Agency decided to launch a spacecraft to Mars in 2020 because sending an orbiter to the moon is too easy. The space agency, which was formed only last July, has yet to define the mission to the Red Planet or select international partners.
  • Current DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner would really like to see the establishment of a base on the far side of the moon to enable radio astronomy. Wörner is set to take over had head of ESA in several months.

Masten’s Xombie Tests Sensors for Future Lunar Mission

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Launch sequence collage of Masten Space Systems' XA-0.1B Xombie suborbital technology demonstration rocket during a NASA-sponsored flight and landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. (Credit: NASA Photo/Tom Tschida)

Launch sequence collage of Masten Space Systems’ XA-0.1B Xombie suborbital technology demonstration rocket during a NASA-sponsored flight and landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. (Credit: NASA Photo/Tom Tschida)

MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) students developed a sensor package to analyze large pits in the surface of the moon or Mars that could lead to openings of caves. The package was launched recently on Masten Space Systems’ XA-0.1B Xombie suborbital technology demonstration rocket during a NASA-sponsored launch and landing at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California.

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NASA to Provide Live Coverage of Lunar Eclipse

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Lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse

On Saturday morning, April 4, 2015 not long before sunrise, the bright full moon over North America should turn a lovely shade of celestial red during a total lunar eclipse. Beginning at 6 a.m. EDT through the end of the eclipse, NASA Marshall will offer live Ustream video and NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams will take Twitter questions via @NASA_Marshall. Use the hashtag #eclipse2015 to send your questions.

A live Ustream view of the lunar eclipse will be available here on April 4 starting at 6:00 a.m. EDT: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

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ESA, China Open Moon & Mars Exploration to Private Sector

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moon_rise_half
ESA and the Chinese space agency have made separate announcements opening their deep space exploration programs to private sector participation.

ESA issued a Call for Ideas for exploring the moon and Mars on its website.

Private-sector partners are welcome to join ESA in its space exploration strategy. Join us to explore beyond Earth’s horizon by sharing knowledge, capabilities, risks and benefits.

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