NASA Funds Research into Small Robots Designed to Explore Martian Caves

Illustration of ReachBot traversing a Martian cavern using microspine grippers across different types of treacherous terrain: (left) a vertically winding tunnel with a rocky and uneven floor, (center) an overhanging wall or ceiling, and (right) a sheer vertical wall in a large cavern or on a cliff. (Credits: Marco Pavone)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Funding: up to $125,000
Study Period: 9 months

ReachBot: Small Robot for Large Mobile Manipulation Tasks
in Martian Cave Environments
Marco Pavone
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

Synopsis

The objective of this effort is to develop a mission architecture where a long-reach crawling and anchoring robot, which repurposes extendable booms for mobile manipulation, is deployed to explore and sample difficult terrains on planetary bodies, with a key focus on Mars exploration. To this end, the robot concept we present here, called ReachBot, uses rollable extendable booms as manipulator arms and as highly reconfigurable structural members.

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Testing Proves Its Worth With Successful Mars Parachute Deployment

Video obtained by camera aboard the Mars 2020 spacecraft during parachute deployment on Feb. 18, 2021. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The giant canopy that helped land Perseverance on Mars was tested here on Earth at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — Test. Test again. Test again.

Testing spacecraft components prior to flight is vital for a successful mission.

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Zero Gravity Corporation Announces Investment From Private Equity Firm Rock Mountain Capital

Cryogenic propellant chill-down experiments from the University of Florida have accumulated data over multiple parabolic flight campaigns. Others flew for the first time on ZERO-G’s recent flights. (Credit: NASA)

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 25, 2021 (ZERO-G PR) — Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G), a weightless flight company offering the country’s only microgravity experience, announced a recent financing round led by Rock Mountain Capital (RMC), a private equity firm working with entrepreneurs and management teams in consumer goods and services, TMT and healthcare. RMC’s investment will help further the commercial development of ZERO-G’s consumer flight program and the company’s renowned weightless research lab.

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Video: Vice President Kamala Harris Calls NASA Astronaut Victor Glover on International Space Station

Video Caption: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris placed a special phone call to space this week when she spoke with astronaut Victor Glover who is aboard the International Space Station.

Glover, a crew member of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission, is the first African American astronaut to fly on a commercial spacecraft, and the first African American to fly a long-term mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. This is his first spaceflight since being selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013.

Learn more about Glover by visiting https://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/biogr…

Download Link: https://images.nasa.gov/details-Vice%..

China Launches 3 Yaogan-31 Military Reconnaissance Satellites

Long March 4C lifts off with three Yaogan-31 reconnaissance satellites. (Credit: CASC)

JIUQUAN SATELLITE LAUNCH CENTER, China (CASC PR) — On February 24 at 10:22 a.m., the Long March 4C carrier rocket was ignited and launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and successfully sent three Yaogan-31 satellites into the scheduled orbit. The mission was a complete success.

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SpaceX to Launch 60 Starlink Satellites on Sunday

Falcon 9 launches 60 Starlink satellites. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Sunday, February 28 for launch of 60 Starlink satellites from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous window is at 8:37 p.m. EST, or 1:37 UTC on March 1.

You can watch a live webcast of this mission, which will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff, by clicking here.

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Russia Launches Arktika-M Meteorological Satellite to Monitor the Arctic

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — This morning, February 28, 2021 at 09:55:01 Moscow time, a successful launch of the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Fregat upper stage and the Arktika-M spacecraft took place from the launch pad No. 31 of the Baikonur cosmodrome No. 1 on board. After 562 seconds, according to the processed telemetry information, the upper stage and payload separated from the third stage of the carrier in the normal mode.

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GomSpace and J.P. Morgan Test Blockchain Transaction on GOMX-4 Constellation

ESA’s biggest small satellite yet: the GomX-4B six-unit CubeSat will demonstrate miniaturised technologies, preparing the way for future operational nanosatellite constellations. (Credit: GomSpace)

UPPSALA, Sweden (GomSpace PR) — GomSpace and J.P. Morgan have successfully utilized the GOMX-4 satellites for an in-orbit demonstration (IOD) and tested tokenized value transfer in space. The IOD from GomSpace enabled J.P. Morgan to test the world’s first bank-led tokenized value transfer in space, executed via smart contracts on a blockchain network established between satellites orbiting the earth.

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ICEYE’s 3 Newest Satellites From Late January Launch Return First Radar Images

San Diego (Credit: ICEYE)

ICEYE is currently delivering SAR Data Services from the world’s most advanced radar imaging satellite constellation designed for Persistent Monitoring. Data from these new spacecraft will be available to customer orders after further calibration.

HELSINKI (ICEYE PR) – ICEYE, the global leader in persistent monitoring with radar satellite imaging, published today its first set of images from the three ICEYE SAR satellites launched at the end of January by the SpaceX Transporter-1 mission. All three spacecraft have successfully completed initial operations and are now progressing through the calibration process.

Once the calibration stage and final preparations are completed, the spacecraft will become commercially available for customers to order images. Radar satellite imaging is used to monitor locations of interest both day and night, and even through cloud cover.

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NIAC Award: Building a Levitating Railroad on the Moon

Artist’s depiction of the FLOAT lunar railway system to provide reliable, autonomous, and efficient payload transport on the Moon. (Credits: Ethan Schaler)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Funding: up to $125,000
Study Period: 9 months

FLOAT: Flexible Levitation on a Track
Ethan Schaler
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, Calif.

We want to build the first lunar railway system, which will provide reliable, autonomous, and efficient payload transport on the Moon. A durable, long-life robotic transport system will be critical to the daily operations of a sustainable lunar base in the 2030’s, as envisioned in NASA’s Moon to Mars plan and mission concepts like the Robotic Lunar Surface Operations 2 (RLSO2), to:

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ISRO to Launch Brazilian Earth Observation Satellite, 18 Secondary Payloads

PSLV-C51 on the launch pad. (Credit: ISRO)

SRIHARIKOTA, India (ISRO PR) — PSLV-C51, which is the 53rd mission of PSLV, will launch Amazonia-1 of Brazil as primary satellite and 18 Co-passenger satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. The launch is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 28 at 1024 IST [0454 UTC/11:54 p.m. on Feb. 27], subject to weather conditions.

Watch live from 0950 IST [0420 UTC/11:20 p.m. on Feb. 27] onwards here.

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Dynetics Completes Human Landing System’s Preliminary Design Review

Artist concept of the Dynetics Human Landing System on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: Dynetics)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Feb. 25, 2021 (Dynetics PR) — Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, has successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the Dynetics Human Landing System (HLS) for NASA’s Artemis Program, marking another critical milestone in human spaceflight. This review provided NASA with insight into the design of the human lander that Dynetics hopes will carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon.

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NASA Celebrates ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary W. Jackson With Building Naming Ceremony

Bryan Jackson, grandson of Mary W. Jackson, left, and Raymond Lewis, son-in-law of Mary W. Jackson, right, unveil the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters sign during a ceremony officially naming the building, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA, began her career with the agency in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The mathematician and aerospace engineer went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. In 2019, she posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — On Friday, NASA celebrated the agency’s first African American female engineer, Mary W. Jackson, with a ceremony to formally name the agency’s headquarters building in Washington in her honor.

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Futuristic Space Technology Concepts Selected by NASA for Initial Study

This illustration shows a conceptual lunar railway system called FLOAT (Flexible Levitation on a Track) that has been selected for an early-stage feasibility study within the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Four advanced space concepts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been selected to receive grants for further research and development.

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