HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Vice President Mike Pence, with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, will visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston Thursday, Aug. 23, to discuss the future of human space exploration and the agency’s plans to return to the Moon as a forerunner to future human missions to Mars.
The event will be held at 12:45 p.m. CDT in the Teague Auditorium at Johnson and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Media Schedule (all times CDT):
6:30-7:30 a.m. – Media call time and pre-set for video cameras and tripods
7:30-9:30 a.m. – Venue access closed to press for security sweep
9:30 a.m. – Media re-entrance
12:45 p.m. – Event begins
Check out the latest on NASA’s plans for human space exploration at:
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.
Russia is moving ahead with a decade-long, $25 billion (1.6 trillion ruble) program to create new super-heavy launch vehicles capable of lifting up to 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit (LEO), Tass reports.
The new boosters, known as Energia-3 and Energia-5, will incorporate technologies and elements of the Soyuz-5 medium-class rocket, which is now under development.
Soyuz-5 is designed to launch Russia’s new crewed spacecraft, Federatsiya (Federation), into Earth orbit. The Energia rockets will be used for lunar missions.
RSC Energia, which is developing the boosters, plans to test the Soyuz-5 rocket from 2022-25. The super-heavy booster would then be tested from 2028-2035 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — On a recent afternoon at the Johnson Space Center, Bill Paloski, Ph.D., Director of NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP), commented on HRP’s mission to protect the health and safety of astronauts. He reflected on some of the human hazards of space, including radiation, isolation and confinement, distance from Earth, altered gravity, and hostile/closed environments.
“We still have a lot to learn about these hazards,” says Paloski. “For instance, how long does it take for space radiation to damage the human body? When you’re isolated, and can’t get home or talk to your family, how long can you stay positive? NASA’s Human Research Program exists to ensure the safety of brave people who are navigating unfamiliar territory in very stressful conditions. We need this program and its research teams to develop strategies to protect our explorers and pioneers who represent the front line of our nation’s space program.”
Astrobotic’s precision landing sensor will unlock compelling new destinations on the Moon for science, exploration, and commerce.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) – NASA’s Space Technology and Mission Directorate (STMD) announced today the selection of Astrobotic for a “Tipping Point” award to develop a novel terrain relative navigation (TRN) sensor for precise lunar landings.
This sensor will enable spacecraft to land with unprecedented precision at the most challenging and promising scientific and economically compelling destinations on the lunar surface, such as lunar skylights and the ice-rich poles of the Moon.
Pittsburgh, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) –Astrobotic Technology Inc., announces $250,000 in new contract awards through NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
These two contracts, which were awarded to the company’s Future Missions and Technology (FM&T) department, will help the company develop novel technologies and strategies for the exploration of space and planetary surfaces.
Through an SBIR contract, “Software Defined Reliability for Low Cost Digital Signal Processors on Small Spacecraft” FM&T will address the needs of the growing space computing market for the next wave of robotic spaceflight customers with Astrobotic’s proprietary “Software Defined Reliability” (ASDR) technology.
Long exposure to microgravity conditions does some bad things to the human body. The heart shrinks, bones become weaker and cells are exposed to damaging radiation.
The impacts will become more acute as NASA launches astronauts to the moon and Mars, which lie outside of the protection of the Earth’s Van Allen belt. The space agency has been conducting research aboard the International Space Station to find ways of addressing these risks before flights begin in the 2020’s.
The Trump Administration wants to end direct federal support for the station in 2024 to free up funding for human lunar missions. However, a recent NASA Inspector General audit indicates doing so could leave some vital human health research being left uncompleted, resulting in greater risks to astronauts on deep-space missions.
Below is an excerpt from the audit that discusses the human health research being conducted on the space station and the risks involved of ending station support in 2024. (more…)
India has decided to once again postpone the launch of its ambitious Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission out of an abundance of caution.
Earlier this year, the ISRO had launched GSAT-6A, a military communication satellite, but lost communication with it. Following this, the ISRO also recalled the launch of GSAT-11 from from Kourou, French Guiana, for additional technical checks. Last September, the PSLV- C39 mission, carrying the IRNSS-1H navigation satellite, failed after the heat shield refused to open and release the satellite….
“We don’t want to take any risk,” said the official, requesting anonymity. The official added that there are certain windows during which the mission could be launched. The next launch window is likely to be in January. Repeated attempts to solicit a response from ISRO chairman K. Sivan were not successful.
In April, Mr. Sivan informed the government about the postponement of the launch to October-November. A national-level committee to review Chandrayaan-2 recommended some additional tests before the mission could take off.
The mission will put an orbiter around the moon and a lander and rover on the surface. It is a follow-on to the successful Chandrayaan-1 orbiter.
The NASA Inspector General is skeptical about the space agency’s plan to transition to commercial operations in Earth orbit after the end of direct federal support for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024, according to a new report.
“Transitioning the ISS to private operation under the timetable currently envisioned presents significant challenges in stimulating private sector interest to take on an extremely costly and complex enterprise,” the audit found. “Based on our audit work, we question the viability of NASA’s current plans, particularly with regard to the feasibility of fostering increased commercial activity in low Earth orbit on the timetable proposed…
Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson was one of three people honored for contributions to further space exploration during the Apollo Celebration Gala held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.
PARIS, 20 July 2018 (ESA PR) — A new ESA-led project is investigating the ways that 3D printing could be used to create and run a habitat on the Moon. Everything from building materials to solar panels, equipment and tools to clothes, even nutrients and food ingredients can potentially be 3D printed. But if you were headed to the Moon, what would you want to 3D print, to turn a lunar base into a place that feels like home? Tell us your idea, to win a chance of actually getting it printed.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR)– Astrobotic proudly announces today during the 49th anniversary week of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing that the company has selected Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama as the propulsion provider for its Peregrine Lunar Lander.
Peregrine will return America to the Moon for the first time since Apollo and begin delivering customer payloads once a year starting in 2020. Dynetics will integrate Peregrine’s main engines and attitude control thrusters, controller electronics, tanks, and feed system into a single system that performs all propulsive maneuvers from cruise to soft landing on the Moon.
The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.
There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Life aboard the International Space Station requires extreme measures in efficiency to preserve resources, reduce waste, repurpose materials, and recycle water and breathable air. Regular cargo resupply missions deliver approximately 12 metric tons of supplies each year, which can lead to significant storage challenges aboard the orbiting laboratory.