OSIRIS-REx Scientists: Taking Asteroid Sample was Like Punching a Ball Pit

Bennu’s surface was disturbed in three different ways: by the force of the spacecraft touching down; by the sampling mechanism, which collected material by blowing gas into its collection filter; and by four of the spacecraft’s back-away thrusters, which moved the spacecraft away from the sample site (marked with a red “X” in the second of these two images) and agitated dust and boulders on the surface. The image above shows the TAG site and highlights (red circle) a large boulder thrown about 40 feet (about 12 meters). (Credits: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

TUCSON, Ariz. (University of Arizona PR) — Asteroid Bennu, the target of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, led by the University of Arizona, kept surprising the mission team while the spacecraft studied the asteroid from a distance. The biggest surprise, however, came when OSIRIS-REx swooped in to grab a sample of material from Bennu and encountered not a solid surface but one that gave way so easily the sampler arm sank 1 1/2 feet into it within seconds.

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Space Development Agency Makes Awards for 126 Satellites to Build Tranche 1 Transport Layer

Tranche 1 Transport Layer mesh satellite communications network. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

With Industry Onboard, National Defense Space Architecture Ready to Take Shape

WASHINGTON (SDA PR) — The Space Development Agency (SDA) today announced the awards of three prototype agreements worth approximately $1.8 billion to establish the foundation for Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL), a mesh network of 126 optically-interconnected space vehicles (SV) that will provide a resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport communication system, and be ready for launch starting in September 2024. 

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NASA Selects Lockheed Martin Space to Build Rocket to Retrieve First Samples from Mars

This illustration shows a concept for a set of future robots working together to ferry back samples collected on the surface of Mars by NASA’s Perseverance rover. (Credits: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, to build the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), a small, lightweight rocket to launch rock, sediment, and atmospheric samples from the surface of the Red Planet. The award brings NASA a step closer to the first robotic round-trip to bring samples safely to Earth through the Mars Sample Return Program.

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NASA, ULA Launch Lucy Mission to ‘Fossils’ of Planet Formation

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with the Lucy spacecraft aboard is seen in this 2 minute and 30 second exposure photograph as it launches from Space Launch Complex 41, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Lucy will be the first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids. Like the mission’s namesake – the fossilized human ancestor, “Lucy,” whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity’s evolution – Lucy will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Lucy mission, the agency’s first to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, launched at 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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Lockheed Martin Space’s Executive Vice President Rick Ambrose To Retire

Rick Ambrose (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 7, 2021 (Lockheed Martin PR) —  Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today announced that Space Executive Vice President Richard F. Ambrose has decided to retire on March 1, 2022, after more than 20 years of service to the company. He will remain in his current role until a successor is announced.

Ambrose joined Lockheed Martin in 2000 and served as the president of the Information Systems & Global Solutions-National business; vice president and general manager of the Surveillance and Navigation Systems line of business within Space; and vice president and general manager of Mission Systems and Sensors’ Tactical Systems.

“We are grateful to Rick for all his contributions to our company and for his strategic leadership of our $11 billion Space portfolio that provides advanced technology and mission-driven solutions for national security, civil and commercial customers,” said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO James Taiclet. “I join the Lockheed Martin team in thanking him for his service and wishing him all the best in his upcoming retirement.”

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NASA Sets Coverage, Invites Public to Virtually Join Lucy Launch

An artist’s concept of the Lucy Mission. (Credit: SwRI)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for Lucy, the agency’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. 

Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 16, on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

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