Tag: moon

Astrobotic Unveils New Lunar Lander, Partners with Airbus & DHL

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Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

  • DHL to manage logistics along the entire supply chain
  • Airbus Defence and Space to contribute engineering support for lander design
  • Astrobotic unveils new peregrine lunar lander

BERLIN (DHL PR) — Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces that DHL and Airbus Defence and Space are supporting Astrobotic to develop its lunar payload delivery service.

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International Partners Contribute CubeSats for First SLS Flight

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EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) will measure the distribution of plasma that surrounds the Earth to help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth. It will also demonstrate low-energy trajectory control techniques, such as multiple lunar flybys, within the Earth-Moon region. (Credit: JAXA/University of Tokyo)

EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) will measure the distribution of plasma that surrounds the Earth to help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth. It will also demonstrate low-energy trajectory control techniques, such as multiple lunar flybys, within the Earth-Moon region. (Credit: JAXA/University of Tokyo)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) will launch America into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond Earth’s orbit. On its first flight, NASA will demonstrate the rocket’s heavy-lift capability and send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into deep space. The agency will also take advantage of additional available mass and space to provide the rare opportunity to send more than a dozen small satellites, called CubeSats, to conduct experiments beyond low-Earth orbit. In addition to the 10 CubeSats announced earlier this year, the agency will be sending three from international partners.

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FAA AST Budget: A Million Here, A Million There

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faa_logoUPDATE: The commmitttee approved an amendment bringing the budget up to $19.826, which is what the Administration requested.

The House Appropriations Committee has recommended $18.826 million for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) for FY 2017, which is $1 million below the Obama Administration’s budget request.

The amount is $1 million above the enacted level for FY 2016.

“The recommended funding level will allow the Office of Commercial Space Transportation to add operational personnel to support an increased level of activity in its licensing, permitting and safety inspection functions,” the committee said in draft bill to be marked up on Tuesday.

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Lockheed Martin Lays Out Deep Space Exploration Plans

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Humanity Becomes an Interplanetary Species: Artist’s rendition of the Mars Base Camp architecture in Martian orbit. By leveraging developed technologies and the taxpayers’ investment in SLS and Orion, Lockheed Martin believes a human science Mission to Mars is feasible by 2028. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Artist’s rendition of the Mars Base Camp architecture in Martian orbit. By leveraging developed technologies and the taxpayers’ investment in SLS and Orion, Lockheed Martin believes a human science Mission to Mars is feasible by 2028. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

At a House Space Subcommittee meeting on Capitol Hill last week, several companies laid out plans for deep space exploration. Lockheed Martin Vice President Wanda A. Sigur discussed the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle the company is building for NASA, proposed cis-lunar space operations, and a Mars base camp orbiting the Red Planet.

Lockheed Martin of a number of companies working with NASA under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program, which is a private-public partnership that focuses on advance concept studies and technology development projects for deep space exploration.

Relevant excerpt’s from Sigur’s prepared testimony follow.

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Orbital ATK Advocates Lunar Orbiting Base

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Cislunar station (Credit: Orbital ATK)

Cislunar station (Credit: Orbital ATK)

Former NASA Astronaut Frank Culbertson Proposes Four-Person Crew-Tended Lunar-Orbit Habitat to Be in Place by 2020

Company’s Flight-Proven Cygnus Spacecraft Could be Used as a Building-Block Habitat Leading to Lunar Research and Mars Exploration

Dulles, Va., 18 March 2016 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today advocated for a manned lunar-orbit outpost as America’s next step in human space exploration.

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ESA Develops Lunar Ice Drill

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Lunar ice drill (Credit: ESA/Finmeccanica)

Lunar ice drill (Credit: ESA/Finmeccanica)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A drill designed to penetrate 1–2 m into the lunar surface is envisaged by ESA to fly to the Moon’s south pole on Russia’s Luna-27 lander in 2020.

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China Eyes Human Mission to Moon in 2036

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Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

China is eying a human landing on the moon in about 20 years.

China wants to put astronauts on the moon by 2036, a senior space official said, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

China must “raise its abilities and use the next 15 to 20 years to realize manned lunar exploration goals, and take a firm step for the Chinese people in breaking ground in the utilization of space”, Lieutenant General Zhang Yulin, deputy commander of the China Manned Space Program, said.

The paper cited experts saying China needed first to develop a powerful enough rocket to lift a payload of at least 100 metric tons into low Earth orbit. It also needs more advanced technology, including new space suits, for a lunar mission.

China’s space budget is still only about one-tenth of the United States’ outlays, officials have said. According to Chinese state media, China spends about $2 billion a year on its space program, though details are vague.

NASA Selects ISRU Projects for SBIR Awards

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NASA LOGONASA has selected eight research projects focused on in-situ resource utilization for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research Phase I program.

The selected projects include:

  • Extraterrestrial Metals Processing — Pioneer Astronautics
  • Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad — Honeybee Robotics
  • Extruded Clay-Based Regoliths for Construction on Mars, Phobos and NEAs — Deep Space Industries
  • In-Situ Generation of Polymer Concrete Construction Materials — Luna Innovations
  • ISP3: In-Situ Printing Plastic Production System for Space Additive Manufacturing — Altius Space Machines
  • Compact In-Situ Polyethylene Production from Carbon Dioxide — Opus 12
  • Micro-Channel Reactor for Processing Carbon Dioxide to Ethylene — Reactive Innovations
  • OpenSWIFT-SDR for STRS Polyethylene Production from In-Situ Resources in Microchannel Reactors — TDA Research

Full descriptions of the projects are below.

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Video: Moon Express’ Bob Richards on a Private Lunar Mission

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Video Caption: The health of our home planet and the survival of our species will only be secured through the use of space resources and the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere to the Moon and beyond. Creating an off-Earth economy and multi-planet civilization will safeguard the long term prospects of humanity.

Bob Richards is Co-Founder and CEO of Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx), a privately funded lunar transportation and space resource development company, striving to become the first commercial company to land on the Moon, a challenge only accomplished by 3 superpowers in history. Located at Cape Canaveral, Moon Express has contracted for 3 launches to the Moon with Rocket Lab between 2017 and 2020, is partnered with NASA under its Lunar CATALYST program, and is one of only two teams in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition with a verified launch contract.

In this talk Bob Richards outlines Moon Express and it plans to develop lunar resources, and how this goal has set in motion technological, political, legal and regulatory precedents that will allow humanity to rationally and peacefully embrace and develop the Moon as the world’s eighth continent.

NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for 2 STTR & 5 SBIR Awards

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for two Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) and five Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I awards.

The selected proposals include:

  • STTR: Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad (Partnered with Michigan Technological University)
  • STTR: In-Situ Spectroscopic Europa Explorer (Partnered with SETI Institute Carl Sagan Center)
  • SBIR: The Stinger: A Geotechnical Sensing Package for Robotic Scouting on a Small Planetary Rover
  • SBIR: Planetary Vacuum Cleaner for Venus and Mars
  • SBIR: Dust-Tolerant, High Pressure Oxygen Quick Disconnect for Advanced Spacesuit and Airlock Applications
  • SBIR: Strut Attachment System for In-Space Robotic Assembly
  • SBIR: High Temperature Joint Actuator

Descriptions of the research projects follow.
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China Begins Assembly of First Flight-Ready Long March-5 Rocket

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Long March 5 model

Long March 5 model

Chinese engineers have begun assembly of the first flight-ready Long March-5 rocket, which is set to make its inaugural launch later this year. The heavy-lift booster will be capable of lofting 25 metric tons into low Earth orbit.

Yang Hujun, vice chief engineer, has spoken about the next steps for the Long March-5 project.

“After the assembly is finished in the first half of this year, it will take a little more than a month to test it to ensure that the product is in good shape. The first launch will be made after it is out of the plant in the latter half of the year. ”

The new generation of rockets will come in 6 slightly different models – for manned space travel, as well as for the lunar and Martian exploration programs.

Among planned missions, is the Chang’e-5 lunar probe, which will be launched by the high-thrust carrier rocket to collect samples of moon soil by the end of 2017.

NIAC Focus: Getting a Glider to Fly on an Airless World

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niac_e-glider_quadrelli
NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is the description of an electrostatic glider submitted by Marco Quandrelli of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

E-Glider: Active Electrostatic Flight for Airless Body Exploration

Marco Quadrelli
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The environment near the surface of airless bodies (asteroids, comets, Moon) is electrically charged due to Sun’s photoelectric bombardment. Charged dust is ever present, even at high altitudes (dust fountains), following the Sun’s illumination. We envisage the global scale exploration of airless bodies by a gliding vehicle that experiences its own electrostatic lift and drag by its interaction with the naturally charged particle environment near the surface. This Electrostatic Glider (E-Glider) lifts off by extending thin, charged, appendages, which are also articulated to direct the levitation force in the most convenient direction for propulsion and maneuvering. It thus carries out its science mission by circumnavigating the small body, and it lands, wherever it is most convenient, by retracting the appendages or by thruster/anchor.

Moon Express Asks FAA to Conduct Payload Review for Lunar Mission

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Moon Express MX-1 spacecraft orbits the Moon in preparation for landing. MX-1 will deliver commercial, academic and government instruments to explore the Moon for science and resources. (Credit: Moon Express)

Moon Express MX-1 spacecraft orbits the Moon in preparation for landing. MX-1 will deliver commercial, academic and government instruments to explore the Moon for science and resources. (Credit: Moon Express)

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2016 (Moon Express PR) — Today, Moon Express made history as the first private space company to request the U.S government to conduct a payload review of its spacecraft and plans leading to regulatory approval of a commercial mission to the Moon in 2017. Moon Express initiated the review process through a submission to the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST), bringing the company another important step closer to the Moon.

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NASA Selects Robotics Projects for SBIR Phase II Funding

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NASA LOGONASA has selected four robotics projects for funding under its most recent round of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. The projects include:

  • Surround Visual & Sensory Feedback for Robotic Arm Pilots. Swift Engineering, Inc., San Clemente, Calif.
  • Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers. Energid Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Robotic Arm for Assistive Free-Flyers. Energid Technologies, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Industrial Electrostatic-Gecko Gripper. Somatis Sensor Solutions, Los Angeles, Calif.

Descriptions of the projects follow.

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Honeybee Robotics Selected for Two NASA SBIR Phase II Awards

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards to continue development of technologies for use on the moon, Mars, asteroids and other worlds.

Under one award, Honeybee will develop a system capable of extracting and processing water and other volatile materials from the soil. The other award will fund the development of a hermetically sealed capsule for the return of soil samples from other worlds.

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