Relativity Space Closes $500 Million Series D Financing

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.

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Astrobotic Wins $5.7 Million NASA Tipping Point Contract for Wireless Charging on the Moon

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.

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Ozmens’ SNC Selected for NASA Tipping Point Contract for Groundbreaking Technology to Produce Oxygen on Moon

Oxygen is locked in lunar regolith (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

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. 

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NASA Funds Lockheed Martin to Develop Cryogenic Fluid Management in Space

Credit: Lockheed Martin

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.

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NASA Tipping Point Selections Include Cryogenic Fluid, Lunar Surface and Landing Tech

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

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.

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New Shepard Successfully Completes Mission with NASA Precision Lunar Landing Technology Onboard

New Shepard landing on the pad in West Texas on October 13, 2020, with the NASA Lunar Landing Sensor Demo onboard. (Credit: Blue Origin)

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.

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NASA Tipping Point Partnership with Blue Origin to Test Precision Lunar Landing Technologies

by Clare Skelly
NASA Headquarters

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.

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Astrobotic Developing Ground Penetrating Radar with NASA Funding

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

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NASA Funds Demonstration of Assembly and Manufacturing in Space

SPIDER on the Restore-L satellite. (Credit: Maxar Technologies)

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.

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NASA Seeks Opportunities for Public-Private Partnerships

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).”

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UP Aerospace Launch Tests New Technologies

UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket. (Credits: NASA)

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.

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In Orbit and On Budget: Launching Small Payloads Faster and Cheaper

The Affordable Vehicle Avionics payload fits into the avionics bay of UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft vehicle. It provides the intelligence to command the guidance and control system for the rocket. (Credits: U.S. Army)

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.

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NASA Small Business, Tipping Point Contracts Advance Small Moon Rover

CubeRover on the lunar surface. (Credit: CubeRover)

By Jim Cawey
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

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. 

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Blue Canyon Technologies Receives $4.9 Million Satellite Contract from NASA

BOULDER, Colo., October 17, 2019 (BCT PR) — Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) today announced it has been selected for a $4.9 million contract award from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate to develop a groundbreaking technology that allows BCT’s spacecraft buses to perform autonomous navigation on-board, without any additional hardware.

The news came as part of NASA’s recent announcement of more than $40 million in contracts to 14 companies as part of its “Tipping Point” solicitation, an effort to develop technologies that support the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

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NASA Awards $2 Million Contract to Astrobotic’s CubeRover Program

An artist’s rendition of CubeRover, Astrobotic’s ultra-lightweight modular and scalable commercial rover. (Credit: Astrobotic)

Pittsburgh, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) – CubeRover, an ultralight, rechargeable planetary rover developed by Astrobotic, has been awarded a $2 million NASA Tipping Point contract. The rover, roughly the size of a shoebox and weighing in at under five pounds, can carry its own payloads or team up with other CubeRovers as “scouts” for larger rovers and landers.

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