Head of NASA Human Spaceflight Resigns on Eve of SpaceX Crew Dragon Flight

Douglas Loverro (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The head of NASA’s human spaceflight program has resigned three days before a flight readiness review (FRR) for the first human spaceflight from U.S. soil in nearly nine years.

Douglas Loverro, associate administrator for the human exploration and operations (HEO), resigned on Monday — nine days before a Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley and aboard is scheduled to be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket on May 27.

Loverro, who took on the job in December, was to have presided over a two-day review set to begin this Thursday on whether to go ahead with the crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Loverro would have made the final go/no decision.

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New SLS Worry: Leaks

NASA’s Ground Transportation team guides NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s completed core stage from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the agency’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8. (Credits: NASA/Tyler Martin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of NASA’s massive Space Launch System (SLS) has a depressingly familiar ring to it. Tell me if you’ve heard this before:

  • schedule continues to slip
  • costs continue to rise
  • core stage could develop fuel leaks.

Yeah, that does sound famil– Wait…WHAT?!?

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Astrobotic to Develop New Commercial Payload Service for NASA’s Human Landing System

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

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic proudly announces that it is has been selected to develop and lead a new commercial payload service onboard the Dynetics Human Landing System (HLS). Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, was recently announced as one of three awardees by NASA to develop a new commercial lunar lander for NASA’s Artemis Program. The design and development of HLS for Artemis will land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. With this new approach, the human lander will not only carry astronaut crews but also commercial payload shipments.

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Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Praises NASA Lunar Lander Awards

WASHINGTON (Senate Commerce Committee PR) – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the selection of three from among five bidders to study and design the Artemis Human Landing System (HLS). These U.S. companies will produce a design, mission concept, and plan for the Artemis HLS, two of which NASA will eventually select for production.

“The Apollo Program was possible only because of public investments in spacefaring technologies,” said Wicker. “Making good use of commercial partnerships lowers the long-term cost of space exploration, and it allows the American aerospace industry to do what it does best – innovate. These competitors’ designs will play a major role in producing a brand-new human lander that will enable our astronauts to access important areas of the Moon’s surface and sustain our nation’s deep space exploration efforts.”

In November 2019, the NASA Authorization Act was reported favorably by the Committee. The bill broadly supports and authorizes funding for NASA’s Artemis program and a commercial services acquisition strategy for lunar landers.  

The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over NASA.

SNC to Lead Crew Module Development for Critical Piece of NASA’s Artemis Program

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

SPARKS, Nev., April 30, 2020 (SNC PR) –  Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Faith Ozmen, has been selected as a subcontractor to Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, to provide key crew module technology for NASA’s Human Landing System (HLS) program. This program is a critical piece of the agency’s Artemis program for lunar exploration.

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NASA Selects Blue Origin Team to Develop Human Lunar Lander

Artist concept of the Blue Origin National Team crewed lander on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: Blue Origin)

KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today the Blue Origin National Team, which includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper, was selected by NASA to begin to develop the Artemis Human Landing System.

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A Closer Look at Lunar Landers Proposed by Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX

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

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announced that three U.S. companies will develop the human landers that will land astronauts on the Moon beginning in 2024 as part of the Artemis program. These human landers are the final piece of the transportation chain required for sustainable human exploration of the Moon, which includes the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and the Gateway outpost in lunar orbit. 

The awardees for NASA’s Human Landing System contracts are Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, and SpaceX of Hawthorne, California. These teams offered three distinct lander and mission designs, which will drive a broader range of technology development and, ultimately, more sustainability for lunar surface access. 

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NASA Awards Lunar Lander Contracts to Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected three U.S. companies to design and develop human landing systems (HLS) for the agency’s Artemis program, one of which will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024. NASA is on track for sustainable human exploration of the Moon for the first time in history.

The human landing system awards under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix H Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) are firm-fixed price, milestone-based contracts.  The total combined value for all awarded contracts is $967 million for the 10-month base period. 

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NASA to Announce Commercial Human Lander Awards for Artemis Moon Missions

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 30, to announce the companies selected to develop modern human landing systems (HLS) that will carry the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024 and develop sustainable lunar exploration by the end of the decade.

Audio of the call will stream online at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

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Blue Moon Program Fact Sheet

Blue Moon crewed landing vehicle. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin released a fact sheet about its programs when it opened its new Huntsville manufacturing facility on Monday. Below is an excerpt on the company’s advanced development programs and Blue Moon lunar lander.

BLUE ORIGIN FACT SHEET

Advanced Development Programs

Blue Origin is developing advanced technologies to enable space exploration and development, including a NASA Tipping Point contract to mature cryogenic liquid propulsion for integrated large-scale lunar lander applications and several years of progress on the Blue Moon Lunar Lander and its BE-7 lunar landing engine.

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NASA Budget Proposal Laser Focused on the Moon

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Determined to land astronauts on the moon in time for the 2024 presidential election, the Trump Administration has proposed boosting NASA’s budget by 12 percent, an increase that includes $3.37 billion program for a human lander.

The $25.2 billion plan for fiscal year 2021 is $2.69 billion above the current spending level. More than half the amount, $12.95 billion, would be spent on human space operations in Earth orbit and preparing for missions to the moon.

How the proposal will fair in Congress is unclear. To boost Artemis spending, the Administration has proposed a number of cuts that Congress has rejected in previous Trump budgets. Those reductions include:

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