Tag: moon

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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J.J. Abrams Produces Documentary on Google Lunar X Prize

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Video Caption: Academy Award®-nominated director Orlando von Einsiedel, Executive Producer J.J. Abrams, Bad Robot and Epic Digital have joined forces with Google and XPRIZE to create a documentary web series about the people competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

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Video: Jan Woerner’s Moon Village Concept

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Video Caption: Jan Woerner, Director General of the European Space Agency, has a bold new vision for space exploration. “My intention is to build up a permanent base station on the Moon,” he tells Euronews from the agency’s main control room in Darmstadt. “Meaning that it’s an open station, for different member states, for different states around the globe.”

Mankind has never had a permanent lunar presence, and so this new vision, that Woerner likes to call the ‘Moon village’, would represent a giant leap in space exploration.

House Members Want NASA to Develop Human Space Exploration Roadmap

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Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth's moon. (Credit: NASA)

Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth’s moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Science Committee PR) – On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Space held a hearing titled,Charting a Course: Expert Perspectives on NASA’s Human Exploration Proposals.” Witnesses shared their viewpoints on NASA’s human space exploration plans – including a human mission to Mars – and the challenge of keeping programs on track through changing presidential administrations.

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Lunar Flashlight CubeSat to Map Moon’s South Pole

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The Lunar Flashlight, flying as secondary payload on the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, will examine the moon’s surface for ice deposits and identify locations where resources may be extracted. (Credit: NASA)

The Lunar Flashlight, flying as secondary payload on the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, will examine the moon’s surface for ice deposits and identify locations where resources may be extracted. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division recently selected the Lunar Flashlight CubeSat as a secondary payload to fly aboard the Space Launch System’s Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) flight. Lunar Flashlight, led by a team from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Marshall Space Flight Center, will map the lunar south pole for volatiles and demonstrate several technological firsts, including being the first CubeSat to reach the moon, the first planetary CubeSat mission to use green propulsion, and the first mission to use lasers to look for water ice.

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Video: ESA Looks Ahead to Lunar Exploration

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Video Caption: This 8-minute film gives an overview of the past, present, and future of Moon exploration, from the Lunar cataclysm to ESA’s vision of what Lunar exploration could be.

NASA Year in Review

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2015, NASA explored the expanse of our solar system and beyond, and the complex processes of our home planet, while also advancing the technologies for our journey to Mars, and new aviation systems as the agency reached new milestones aboard the International Space Station.

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International Institute of Space Law Weighs in on Space Mining Law

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IISL_logoINTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SPACE LAW

Position Paper on Space Resource Mining
Adopted by consensus by the Board of Directors on 20 December 2015

I. The U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act

On 25 November 2015, the President of the United States signed into law the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262).1 It consists of four Titles: I. Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship; II. Commercial Remote Sensing; III. Office of Space Commerce; and IV. Space Resource Exploration and Utilization.

Title IV, which is of interest here, addresses in a preliminary way space resource exploitation.

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NASA Releases Stunning New High-Definition Image of Earth

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Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon.

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X Prize Verifies Moon Express Launch Contract

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GoogleLunarXPRIZE_LogoLOS ANGELES (December 8, 2015) – Moon Express, Inc. has received official verification today of their launch contract from XPRIZE as part of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by December 31, 2017. Moon Express will use a Rocket Lab Electron rocket combined with the company’s  “MX-1E” micro-lander as part of a 2017 mission.

“We are extremely proud to officially confirm receipt and verification of Moon Express’s launch contract,” said Bob Weiss, vice chairman and president of XPRIZE. “Having multiple teams attempting actual missions to the moon is a hallmark of a genuine competition. Verified launch contracts are the ‘bona fides’ that teams need to demonstrate that they are in it to win it. Moon Express’ accomplishment has brought XPRIZE closer to the moon.”

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