NASA, Partners to Host CAPSTONE Prelaunch Media Teleconference

CAPSTONE (Credit: Terran Orbital)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference with partners Advanced Space and Rocket Lab at 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 25, in advance of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) launch, scheduled for no earlier than Tuesday, May 31. The teleconference audio will be livestreamed on NASA’s website.

Participants will discuss and answer questions about CAPSTONE launch preparations, its technology demonstrations, and how CAPSTONE will serve as a pathfinder for Gateway and future Artemis missions.  

The teleconference participants include:

  • Christopher Baker, Small Spacecraft Technology program executive, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate
  • Bradley Cheetham, Advanced Space CEO/principal investigator, CAPSTONE
  • Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO
  • Nujoud Merancy, chief, Exploration Mission Planning Office, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston

The microwave oven-size CubeSat will serve as the first spacecraft to test a unique lunar orbit that has never been flown before. The orbit, formally known as a near rectilinear halo orbit, is an elongated orbit located at a precise balance point between the gravities of Earth and the Moon. CAPSTONE will help reduce risk of future long-term deep space missions – like the Moon-orbiting outpost Gateway – by validating innovative navigation technologies and verifying the dynamics of this orbit. 

For more information about CAPSTONE, visit:

https://go.nasa.gov/3PteW7P

Artemis I Moon Rocket to Return to Launch Pad 39B in Early June

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft are slated to return to launch pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in early June for the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.    

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Artemis I Mission Availability Dates

Orion and European Service Module orbiting the Moon. (Credit NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — When Artemis I is ready to launch, a range of personnel from NASA, industry, and several international partners will be poised to support the mission. Before they get to launch day, the alignment of the Earth and Moon will determine when the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the uncrewed Orion spacecraft atop it can launch, along with several criteria for rocket and spacecraft performance. 

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Engineers Continue to Work on Space Launch System

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida continue to work on the main tasks needed to prepare the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft to return to launch pad 39B for the next wet dress rehearsal attempt.

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A First: Scientists Grow Plants in Soil from the Moon

Arabidopsis plants 6 days after the seeds were planted. The four wells on the left contain plants growing in JSC-1A lunar soil simulant. The three wells on the right contain plants growing in lunar soils collected during the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions. (Image Credit: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (University of Florida Media Relations) — Scientists have grown plants in soil from the moon, a first in human history and a milestone in lunar and space exploration.

In a new paper published in the journal “Communications Biology,” University of Florida researchers showed that plants can successfully sprout and grow in lunar soil. Their study also investigated how plants respond biologically to the moon’s soil, also known as lunar regolith, which is radically different from soil found on Earth.

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NASA Welcomes Vice President of Colombia for Artemis Accords Signing

Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez signs the Artemis Accords as NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy looks on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Colombia is the 19th country to sign the Artemis Accords, which establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in NASA’s Artemis program. (Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — During a ceremony at NASA Headquarters in Washington Tuesday, May 10, the Republic of Colombia became the 19th country to sign the Artemis Accords. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy participated in the signing ceremony for the agency and Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of Colombia.

The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in NASA’s Artemis program.

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CAPSTONE Charts a New Path for NASA’s Moon-Orbiting Space Station

NASA Mission Update

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — It will have equilibrium. Poise. Balance. This pathfinding CubeSat will practically be able to kick back and rest in a gravitational sweet spot in space – where the pull of gravity from Earth and the Moon interact to allow for a nearly-stable orbit – allowing physics to do most of the work of keeping it in orbit around the Moon.

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MDA Completes First Commercial Sale of Canadarm3 Technology to Axiom Space

Contract for robotic interfaces another important milestone as company brings full suite of commercial space products to market

BRAMPTON, ON (MDA Inc. PR) – MDA Ltd. (TSX: MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced the first commercial sale of its Canadarm3 technology to Axiom Space. The contract is for the delivery of 32 external robotic interfaces for Axiom Space’s Axiom Station which is now under construction and on schedule to be the world’s first commercial space station in orbit.

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Rogozin: Russia Could Deepen Cooperation with China on Satellite Surveillance, Communications

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

TASS reports that Roscosmos could deepen ties with the Chinese space program in the areas of satellite surveillance and communications constellations as the nation’s invasion of Ukraine drives a deeper wedge in its relations with the West.

“Cooperation between Glonass and Beidou [China’s satellite navigational system] can quite spread to communications and surveillance clusters,” Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said during a forum on Tuesday.

Roscosmos has ordered airlines to replace the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) with Glonass in Russian airlines. Roscosmos is working with China to make the Glonass and Beidou satellite navigation systems interoperable.

Rogozin previously said that Russia will end cooperation with the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada on the International Space Station over the sanctions imposed on the country after its invasion of Ukraine in February. The Roscosmos leader said that details of Russia’s withdrawal will be announced soon. He has also said Russia is looking to cooperate on China’s Tiangong space station, which was launched last year.

Station operations have been approved until 2024. In December, NASA announced plans to work with station partners to extend operations until 2030. U.S. space officials have said it would be difficult to maintain the station without Russian involvement.

Russia’s Ukraine invasion has accelerated the nation’s drift away from cooperation with its ISS partners. Roscosmos decided not to participate in the U.S.-led Artemis program, which aims to land two astronauts at the south pole of the moon later this decade. While the other ISS partners have signed on to the program, Russia has opted to cooperate with China on the establishment of a lunar research base.

Aeva 4D LiDAR Helps NASA Map the Moon

Astronaut working on the moon (Credit: NASA)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 21, 2022 (Aeva PR) – Aeva® (NYSE: AEVA), a leader in next-generation sensing and perception systems, today announced that NASA’s Kinematic Navigation and Cartography Knapsack (KNaCK) Instrument project, a LiDAR-based mobile terrain-mapping and navigation system designed to support the next generation of lunar and planetary exploration, is using Aeva’s 4D LiDAR™ technology. Aeva’s technology, including the new Aeries™ II sensor, is expected to enable the KNaCK Instrument to create highly accurate maps of the lunar surface and provide precise navigation capabilities to overcome the lack of global positioning and navigation systems on the Moon. These capabilities are designed to support missions that are part of NASA’s Artemis program which aims to return humans to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years.

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NASA to Roll Artemis I Rocket Back into Vehicle Assembly Building

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will hold a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 18, to discuss the status of the next wet dress rehearsal test of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at Launch Complex 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission.

Due to upgrades required at an off-site supplier of gaseous nitrogen used for the test, NASA will take advantage of the opportunity to roll SLS and Orion back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to replace a faulty upper stage check valve and a small leak on the tail service mast umbilical. During that time, the agency also will review schedules and options to demonstrate propellant loading operations ahead of launch.

The teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.

Teleconference participants include:

  • Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for common exploration systems development, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director, NASA Exploration Ground Systems program, Kennedy
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars.

For updates, follow along on NASA’s Artemis blog at:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis

NASA Selects Canoo for Artemis Crew Transport Vehicles – For First Human Lunar Landing in More Than 50 years

Futuristic transports with pod-shaped exteriors will carry NASA’s Artemis II astronauts from their crew quarters to Launch Pad 39 B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: Canoo)

JUSTIN, Texas, April 13, 2022 (Canoo Inc. PR) — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Canoo Inc. (Nasdaq: GOEV) a high-tech advanced mobility company to provide Crew Transportation Vehicles (CTVs) for crewed Artemis lunar exploration launches. Canoo will deliver multiple customized all-electric LV models to NASA by June 2023.

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NASA Inspector General’s Report Criticizes Agency’s Cost and Schedule Practices

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Congress is unable to make informed funding decisions about NASA’s multi-mission programs because the space agency is not providing it with federally mandated cost and schedule information, according to a new report from the NASA Office of Inspector General.

“Specifically, for the programs supporting Artemis, the Agency’s return-to-the-Moon and ultimately to Mars effort, NASA is circumventing required cost and schedule controls by categorizing certain production costs as operations costs when, in our opinion, they should be categorized as development costs,” the report said.

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Artemis I Wet Dress Rehearsal Update

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen at sunrise atop a mobile launcher at Launch Complex 39B, Monday, April 4, 2022, as the Artemis I launch team conducts the wet dress rehearsal test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is planning to proceed with a modified wet dress rehearsal, primarily focused on tanking the core stage, and minimal propellant operations on the interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) with the ground systems at Kennedy. Due to the changes in loading procedures required for the modified test, wet dress rehearsal testing is slated to resume with call to stations on Tuesday, April 12 and tanking on Thursday, April 14. Wet dress rehearsal is an opportunity to refine the countdown procedures and validate critical models and software interfaces. The modified test will enable engineers to achieve the test objectives critical to launch success.  

Engineers have identified a helium check valve that is not functioning as expected, requiring these changes to ensure safety of the flight hardware. Helium is used for several different operations, including purging the engine, or clearing the lines, prior to loading propellants during tanking, as well as draining propellant. A check valve is a type of valve that allows liquid or gas to flow in a particular direction and prevents backflow. The helium check valve is about three inches long and prevents the helium from flowing back out of the rocket. 

Following the modified test, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft will return to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where engineers will evaluate the valve and replace if needed. Teams are confident in the ability to replace the valve once back in the VAB.   

NASA will host a teleconference to discuss details on Monday, April 11. Check back at this blog for an update on the countdown timeline prior to the modified wet dress rehearsal testing for the Artemis I mission. NASA is streaming live video of the rocket and spacecraft on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.