Tag: moon

Honeybee Robotics Wants to Vacuum the Moon

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GLXP Update: Tuxera Sponsors Hungary’s Team Puli Space

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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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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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Keck Proposes Deep Space CubeSat Missions

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CHAMPAGNE Rings Explorer (Credit: Keck Institute for Space Studies)

CHAMPAGNE Rings Explorer (Credit: Keck Institute for Space Studies)

Last month, the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) at the California Institute of Technology released a report titled, “Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science,” which examines the sorts of missions types of missions that could be with rapidly evolving small satellites. The potential missions described in the report cover planetary science (moons, asteroids, etc.), astrophysics and heliophysics.

The planetary science missions include the use of mother ships that would deploy CubeSats and impactors to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa, tens of thousands of ChipSats to characterize Saturn’s rings, landing vehicles to explore asteroids, and small spacecraft that would map the moon’s interior and search for volatiles and organics.

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Lunar Pits Could Shelter Future Explorers, Settlers

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This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO's NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO’s NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

GREENBELT, Mary. (NASA PR) — While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).

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