Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Program (Courtesy: U.S. Mint)
The world eagerly watched on July 20, 1969, as Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” E. Aldrin, Jr. took mankind’s first steps on the Moon. This unprecedented engineering, scientific, and political achievement was the culmination of the efforts of an estimated 400,000 Americans and secured our Nation’s leadership in space for generations to come. The Apollo 11 crew—Armstrong, Aldrin, and Michael Collins—safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969, fulfilling the national goal set in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. Nearly half a century later, the United States is the only country ever to have attempted and succeeded in landing humans on a celestial body other than Earth and safely returning them home.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon, Public Law 114-282 authorizes a four-coin program: a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coin. (more…)
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As the next major step to return astronauts to the Moon under Space Policy Directive-1, NASA announced plans on Dec. 13 to work with American companies to design and develop new reusable systems for astronauts to land on the lunar surface. The agency is planning to test new human-class landers on the Moon beginning in 2024, with the goal of sending crew to the surface in 2028.
HONG KONG (PolyU PR) — The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) proudly supports the nation’s current lunar exploration, Chang’e-4 lunar probe, with advanced technologies, namely the design and development of an advanced Camera Pointing System, and an innovative lunar topographic mapping and geomorphological analysis technique in landing site charaterisation for the space craft.
Video Caption: China’s Chang’e-4 lunar mission was launched by a Long March-3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan Province, southwest China, on 7 December 2018, at 18:23 UTC (8 December at 02:23 local time). The Chang’e-4 (嫦娥四号) lunar mission (lander and rover) is scheduled to land in the Aitken crater, located in the Aitken Basin, in the South Pole region on the far side of the Moon.
China has successfully launched its Chang’e-4 lunar lander and rover, which are set to become the first spacecraft to explore the far side of the moon.
The vehicles are heading for a landing in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. Officials have not announced a landing date, but informed speculation has focused on the first week in January.
The lander includes the following payloads:
landing and terrain cameras;
a low-frequency spectrometer;
a lunar lander neutrons and dosimetry (LND) dosimeter supplied by Kiel University in Germany;
a container with silkworm eggs and seeds of potatoes and Arabidopsis thaliana; and,
a miniature camera to record the growth of the eggs and seeds.
The rover’s payloads include:
a panoramic camera;
a lunar penetrating radar system;
a visible and near-infrared imaging spectrometer; and,
and an advanced small analyzer for neutrals (ASAN) analyzer provided by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) to measure the interaction of the solar winds with the lunar surface.
The lander and rover will communicate with the Chang’e 4 relay satellite, which was launched earlier this year.
MOJAVE, CA, November 29 , 2018 (Masten Space Systems PR) – Masten Space Systems has been awarded NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) IDIQ contract vehicle to deliver payloads to the lunar service. CLPS is a multi-award contract worth $2.6B over the duration of its 10 year performance period. The contract funds launch, landing, and lunar surface systems with first missions targeted as early as 2021.
Picture Caption (via Facebook): Concept art of the new lunar rover proposed by Deep Space Systems Inc., one of nine vendors awarded a contract on November 29 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) Program. Well done, Michelle Caillouet Bailey, Stephen Bailey, and the whole Deep Space Team!
Editor’s Note: Deep Space Systems is partnered with Intuitive Machines, which is another of the nine companies chosen from the CLPS program.
DENVER, Nov. 29, 2018 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) will apply its expertise in interplanetary spacecraft to a new program designed to deliver commercial payloads to the surface of the Moon. NASA announced today they have selected Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander to provide payload delivery services as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract.
The Engineering team at OrbitBeyond is led by Jeff Patton, former Development Program Systems Engineering and Integration Manager at ULA.
OrbitBeyond has engaged TeamIndus for Lander engineering, Honeybee Robotics for payload integration, Advanced Space for mission management, Ceres Robotics for surface operations, and Apollo Fusion for future programs.
OrbitBeyond. Inc, is a cislunar transportation company committed to providing global customers with reliable, repeated and affordable services to the lunar surface. We are developing delivery platforms at a cost and scale that will enable rapid and sustained space exploration.
CEDAR PARK, Texas, Nov. 29, 2018 (Firefly Aerospace PR) — Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, announced today that they have been selected by NASA for award of a Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract.
The principal purpose of NASA’s CLPS program is to acquire end-to-end commercial payload services between the Earth and the lunar surface for NASA Headquarters’ Science, Human Exploration and Operations, and Space Technology Mission Directorates (SMD, HEOMD, and STMD).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Draper PR) — The first time NASA wanted to send humans to the moon it turned to Draper to develop the guidance, navigation and control system that made that possible. As NASA prepares to embark for the moon once more, it has selected a team led by Draper to once again support its mission needs. The Draper team was awarded an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, today to support NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.
WASHINGTON, DC (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic has been competitively selected to be a delivery provider of NASA payloads to the Moon on the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Through CLPS, Astrobotic will be a 10-year provider of delivery services for NASA payloads to the Moon. The selection was announced today by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
As part of NASA’s plan to return to the Moon, CLPS is leveraging existing private sector services like Astrobotic to deliver their cargo shipments to the Moon. CLPS will enable the first NASA payloads to be soft-landed on the lunar surface since the Apollo Program, and open a new era in science and exploration with regular commercial deliveries of uncrewed payload to the lunar surface.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Nine U.S. companies now are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts, as one of the first steps toward long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.