WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2020, NASA made significant progress on America’s Moon to Mars exploration strategy, met mission objectives for the Artemis program, achieved significant scientific advancements to benefit humanity, and returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States, all while agency teams acted quickly to assist the national COVID-19 response.
by Linda Herridge NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center
Researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently put a new, small robotic rover through its paces inside a 120-ton bin of regolith rock and dust that simulates the lunar surface.
The four-wheeled CubeRover rolled over dunes of abrasive dust, turned in place, and then trundled up and down steep trench walls within the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) laboratory as it performed more than 150 mobility tests. The rover’s creators, from Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, worked alongside Kennedy’s Swamp Works team, assessing the robot’s maneuverability and how its sensor, motor, and power systems operated in the dusty environment.
LOS ANGELES, November 23, 2020 (Relativity Space PR — Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print an entire rocket and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, today announced it closed a $500 million Series D equity funding round.
The round was led by Tiger Global Management with participation from new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Baillie Gifford, ICONIQ Capital, General Catalyst, XN, Senator Investment Group, and Elad Gil. Existing investors participating in the round include BOND, Tribe Capital, K5 Global, 3L, Playground Global, Mark Cuban, Spencer Rascoff, and Allen & Company LLC, among others.
Astrobotic, WiBotic, Bosch, University of Washington, NASA GRC to develop Wireless Ultra-Fast Proximity Charging for Critical Space Applications
PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic wins $5.7 million NASA Tipping Point contract to lead Bosch, WiBotic, the University of Washington, and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in developing a product line of lightweight proximity chargers. These ultrafast wireless chargers will enable critical lunar applications for both humans and robots.
SPARKS, Nev., November 17, 2020 — Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, has been selected for a contract as part of NASA’s Tipping Point solicitation to further develop its carbothermal reduction process, which harvests oxygen from minerals on the surface of the Moon.
BETHESDA, Md. (Lockheed Martin PR) — On Oct. 14, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced a $370 million investment with 14 U.S. partners that will demonstrate and mature space technologies to help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the Moon.
As a recipient of an $89.7 million contract from this Tipping Point solicitation, Lockheed Martin will complete an in-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen — the most challenging of the cryogenic propellants. This allows us and our partners to test more than one dozen cryogenic fluid management technologies over the next five years.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following selections, organized by topic area, are based on NASA’s fifth competitive Tipping Point solicitation and have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm-fixed price contracts lasting for up to five years.
CORN RANCH, Texas (Blue Origin PR) — Blue Origin successfully completed the 13th New Shepard mission to space and back, and the 7th consecutive flight for this particular vehicle, a record. Catch the mission webcast replay on Blue Origin’s YouTube page.
WASHINGTON — From the rim of Shackleton crater to permanently shadowed regions on the Moon, a NASA-developed sensor suite could allow robotic and crewed missions to land precisely on the lunar surface within an area about half the size of a football field.
Technologies to enable exact and soft landings on the Moon and other worlds will fly on Blue Origin’s next New Shepard suborbital rocket launch, currently targeted for 11:00 a.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24. The company’s live launch webcast will start at 10:30 a.m. and air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
NASA has selected Astrobotic Technology for additional funding to continue development of a compact, highly efficient ground penetrating radar (GPR) antenna that will allow rovers to characterize resources under the surface of the moon and other planets.
“The benefits of such technology could enable the characterization of lunar lava tubes, subsurface water-ice, and the location of planetary ore deposits in a manner that is both affordable and simple to integrate with larger systems,” Astrobotic said in its proposal summary.
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a $142 million contract to Maxar Technologies of Westminster, Colorado, to robotically assemble a communications antenna and manufacture a spacecraft beam in orbit. The technology demonstration is slated to take place on NASA’s Restore-L spacecraft, designed to service and refuel a satellite in low-Earth orbit.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has prioritized funding opportunities for public-private partnerships to achieve NASA’s goals of expanding capabilities and opportunities in space.
These solicitations increase focus on collaborations with the commercial space sector that not only leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA’s strategic goals, but also focus on industry needs. NASA’s investments in industry partnerships can reduce development costs and accelerate infusion of these emerging space system capabilities.
STMD has issued two solicitations entitled, “2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO)” and “Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies” as an appendix to the STMD umbrella NASA Research Announcement titled “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion – 2020 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2020).”
SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — On Nov. 22 UP Aerospace launched its SpaceLoft rocket on a flight funded by the company’s NASA Tipping Point award. The Affordable Vehicle Avionics (AVA) project from NASA’s Ames Research Center was one of several payloads onboard.
SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — What does a satellite the size of a shoebox, a human skin tissue sample and a 5G network testing device have in common? They are all examples of payloads NASA and other organizations would like to launch into orbit at low cost—to gather data for scientific research; test new technologies; and transmit and receive data for weather, broadcast, military and emergency communications. But doing so on any sort of accelerated schedule can be a challenge.
A partnership involving NASA and a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company and university will let us explore the lunar surface in new ways. The project to develop a shoebox-sized rover is part of a multifaceted approach to mature commercial space capabilities that benefit future NASA missions under the Artemis program.