Astrobotic Wins $1.5M to Mature Satellite Servicing and Hazard Detection Systems for Space

Example LiDAR Reconstruction of Spacecraft (Simulated); this mapping will be generated by Astrobotic’s algorithms to enable satellite servicing and hazard detection. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic has won two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contracts worth $1.5 million to further advance novel Laser Imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) software solutions. When space qualified, these software packages will support in-space satellite servicing as well as safe landing on celestial objects such as the Moon or asteroids through accurate hazard detection.

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Astrobotic to Unveil Peregrine Lander Today

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

WATCH LIVE TODAY: APRIL 20
3:00 pm EST

WHAT: Tune in to see flight hardware from the never-before-seen Peregrine lunar lander.

WHO: Speakers include:

CEO, Astrobotic, John Thornton
Founding Board Chair, Keystone Space Collaborative, Justine Kasznica
PA-8th, Congressman Matt Cartwright
NASA Administrator, Senator Bill Nelson
NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate, Mr. James L. Reuter

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20; 3:00-3:30 p.m. EST

TUNE IN

Astrobotic’s Peregrine will deliver a diverse suite of 24 payloads (cargo) to the Moon’s surface later this year.

Peregrine is set to be the first US lunar lander to touch down on the Moon since the Apollo missions nearly 50 years ago. You will also hear from local and national leaders in commercial space, who are gathering for the tri-state region’s first-ever space conference.

NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover on Schedule for Late 2023 Launch

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) that will search for valuable water ice at the lunar south pole is running on schedule for a launch late next year, according to a review from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General (IG).

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Astrobotic Completes Griffin Lunar Test Model

Griffin structural test model (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

With this major milestone complete, the Structural Test Model for the largest lunar lander since the Apollo Lunar Module is now headed for environmental testing.

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic’s second lunar lander mission, Griffin Mission One (GM1), has completed a major milestone toward flight by completing its Griffin Structural Test Model (STM). This full-scale model will undergo a series of rigorous tests to inform the final flight build of the Griffin lunar lander, scheduled to begin this year.

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ULA Vulcan Centaur Rocket to Send Ashes of Gene & Majel Barrett Rodenberry, James Doohan Beyond the Moon

Star Trek First Family Embarks on Final, Infinite Journey on a Rocket Named Vulcan

HOUSTON, January 26, 2022 (Celestis PR) — Celestis, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a launch services agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, CO. ULA will host a Celestis Memorial Spaceflight payload aboard the initial flight of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur, planned for later this year. Known as the Enterprise Flight (celestis.com/launch-schedule/enterprise-flight), the Celestis mission will launch more than 150 flight capsules containing cremated remains (ashes), DNA samples, and messages of greetings from clients worldwide on an endless journey in interplanetary space.

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NASA Selects New Members for Artemis Rover Science Team

VIPER rover on the moon. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — When NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, explores and samples the soils at the Moon’s South Pole, scientists anticipate it will reveal answers to some of the Moon’s enduring mysteries. Where is the water and how much is there? Where did the Moon’s water come from? What other resources are there?

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Advanced Cooling Technologies to Develop Technologies to Allow Systems to Survive Lunar Night Using NASA Funding

Figure 1. Conceptual illustration of combined Thermal Switch and Variable Conductance Thermal Control System for Lunar Landers and Rovers. (a) During the day the electronics are generating heat and the thermal switch and VCHP is ON. Heat is rejected to the radiator and stored in the liquid Phase Change Material (PCM). (b) At night, the thermal switch is OFF, and the VCHP is shut down, with Non-Condensable Gas (NCG) blocking the condenser and adiabatic section. Thermal resistance between electronics and sink is maximum. The PCM cools down and freezes, supplying heat to maintain the temperature of the electronics. (Credit: Advanced Cooling Technologies)

LANCASTER, Pa. (ACT PR) — Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is excited to announce a $5 Million NASA Sequential Phase II SBIR Program Award, “Development of Lunar Vehicle and Payload Thermal Control Systems for Extreme Lunar Environments”.  As part of this project, ACT is subcontracting Astrobotic to provide their industry experience with lunar landers and rovers, including system-level architecture and critical design requirements. Astrobotic will validate the technology using their Peregrine lander, Griffin lander, and CubeRover thermal system architectures as a baseline.

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Astrobotic’s Hazard Detection System to Take Flight

Credit: Astrobotic

Astrobotic leading the way in Hazard Detection for space missions with latest NASA award.

PITTSBURGH, PA Tuesday, December 28, 2021 (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today it was selected to receive funding for its LiDAR-based Hazard Detection sensor (LHD) as part of the NASA Flight Opportunities TechFlights solicitation. This LHD sensor will assist in the safe landing of Astrobotic’s Griffin lander, the largest lunar lander since Apollo’s Lunar Module. Griffin will be carrying NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, to the lunar surface.

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NASA Selects Nine Space Technologies for Commercial Suborbital Flight Tests

Carthage College student Nicolas Welker prepares to start a zero-gravity transfer of propellant simulant during a flight on Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE on Nov. 16, 2021. The flight enabled testing of technology designed to gauge propellant levels during on-orbit refueling and transfer operations. (Credits: Zero Gravity Corporation/Steve Boxall)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine space technologies under the agency’s 2021 TechFlights solicitation for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems.

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Space Force Pitch Day Awards $32.3 Million to 19 Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – SpaceWERX officially lifted off Aug. 19 during the virtual Space Force Pitch Day. The event closed with 19 small businesses securing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to advance their cutting-edge space technologies.

The newly launched SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the U.S. Space Force. It will operate as part of AFWERX, the Department of the Air Force’s innovation arm.

“What better way of introducing the new organization than bringing in new partners, locking in new investments and going after great space technology,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “We’re excited to be partnering with these great companies and the great technology they bring to the table.”

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Astrobotic MoonRanger Moves into Final Production

MoonRanger (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic announced today that MoonRanger, an autonomous rover that will explore the lunar South Pole in 2022, passed NASA’s Key Decision Point (KDP) review and is in the final stage of the payload preparation phase, culminating in flight hardware fabrication.

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Astrobotic Wins Two NASA Prizes for Lunar Power Infrastructure

Credit: Astrobotic Technology

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic, the world’s leading lunar logistics company, has won two prizes for Phase 1 of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Centennial Challenge. The prizes further establish Astrobotic as a pioneer in lunar surface power generation, distribution, storage, and management.

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ULA’s Bruno Denies Igniter Problems with Vulcan Centaur’s BE-4 Engine

In a recent report, the GAO — Government Accountability Office — had reported technical issues with the Blue Origin produced BE-4 engine that will power United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Vulcan Centaur’s first flight will launch Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine on a mission to land on the moon. That flight was scheduled for the end of 2021, but it has slipped into next year due to COVID-19 pandemic related delays with Peregrine.

NASA Space Technology Budget Request Fact Sheet

NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Space Technology
($ Millions)

The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops transformative, cross-cutting technologies that lead to research and technology breakthroughs to enable NASA’s missions and is broadening its focus on cross-cutting space technologies that will support creating good jobs in a growing space industry.

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