NASA-Funded LEO Commercialization Studies Yield Diverse Results

Credit: Axiom Space

Last week, NASA released the results of low Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization studies the space agency commissioned 12 companies to conduct. The space agency is looking to become a tenant in LEO as it aims to return astronauts to the moon in 2024.

Credit: Blue Origin

The studies were conducted by a diverse group of companies ranging from big aerospace such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to up and comers like Blue Origin and NanoRacks to business consultants Deloitte and McKinsey&Company.
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NASA Updates Work on Lunar Gateway Habitat

Credit: NASA

Even as NASA’s plans for the Lunar Gateway evolve, the space agency is continuing work on developing a habitat for the crew that will use the facility as an orbiting base for the study of the Moon.

Credit: NASA

Marshall Smith, the space agency’s director of Human Lunar Exploration Programs, gave a press report on habitat development to the NASA Advisory Council Human Exploration & Operations Committee last week.

Credit: NASA

Five companies were commission to produce prototypes for evaluation and testing: Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Credit: NASA

Smith’s presentation did not include a slide on Bigelow Aerospace’s prototype module.

Credit: NASA

Study Input Informs NASA Course for a Vibrant Future Commercial Space Economy

International Space Station (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — New insights from companies in the growing space economy are helping NASA chart a course for the future of commercial human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit. Input the companies provided to NASA as part of the studies will inform NASA’s future policies to support commercial activities that enable a robust low-Earth orbit economy.

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Lockheed Martin Completes Critical Testing Milestone for NASA JPL’s Mars 2020 Rover Heat Shield

The Lockheed Martin-built heat shield, shown here in the testing phase, is just one component in the final aeroshell that will protect the Mars 2020 rover on its long journey to Mars. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

DENVER, May 2, 2019 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Protecting against the extremes of space travel is critical to the success of any mission. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has successfully completed the flight hardware structure of the heat shield, validating the physical integrity with a final static test after exposing it to flight-like thermal conditions.

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Former NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot Joins Lockheed Martin

Robert Lightfoot

BETHESDA, Md., April 29, 2019 (Lockheed Martin PR) Robert Lightfoot, a longtime NASA executive who served as both the agency’s acting administrator and highest-ranking civil servant, will join Lockheed Martin Space as vice president, Strategy and Business Development, effective May 6.

In his new role, Lightfoot will lead strategic planning, advanced technology concepts, and new business strategy for the corporation’s Space business area. Lockheed Martin Space is a $9 billion, 18,000-person enterprise that has been a leader in satellite and launch systems since the dawn of the space age.

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SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Launches Communications Satellite, Hits Landing Trifecta

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launched its first commercial satellite on Thursday, with its three first stage boosters successfully landing for later reuse.

The world’s most powerful booster lifted off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:35 p.m. EDT. The rocket successfully orbited the Arabsat 6A communications satellite.

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NASA Begins Testing Habitation Prototypes

Habitation concept interior. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Over the next several months, NASA will conduct a series of ground tests inside five uniquely designed, full-size, deep space habitat prototypes. The mockups, constructed by five American companies, offer different perspectives on how astronauts will live and work aboard the Gateway – the first spaceship designed to stay in orbit around the Moon, providing the critical infrastructure needed for exploration, science and technology demonstrations on the lunar surface.

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Returning Astronauts to the Moon: Lockheed Martin Finalizes Full-Scale Cislunar Habitat Prototype

Personnel test the deep space habitat prototype. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Lockheed Martin PR) — For long-duration, deep space missions, astronauts will need a highly efficient and reconfigurable space, and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is researching and designing ways to support those missions.

Under a public-private partnership as a part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Phase II study contract, Lockheed Martin has completed the initial ground prototype for a cislunar habitat that would be compatible with NASA’s Gateway architecture. This habitat will help NASA study and assess the critical capabilities needed to build a sustainable presence around the Moon and support pioneering human exploration in deep space.

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Lockheed Martin’s First Smart Satellites are Tiny with Big Missions

Lockheed Martin’s nanosatellite bus, the LM 50, will host the first SmartSat-enabled missions set for delivery this year. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

DENVER, March 20, 2019 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced a new generation of space technology launching this year that will allow satellites to change their missions in orbit. Satellites that launched one, ten or even fifteen years ago largely have the same capability they had when they lifted off. That’s changing with new architecture that will let users add capability and assign new missions with a software push, just like adding an app on a smartphone. This new tech, called SmartSat, is a software-defined satellite architecture that will boost capability for payloads on several pioneering nanosats ready for launch this year.

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Will Alcântara Finally Stop Being the Spaceport of the Future?

Cyclone 4 launch pad under construction. (Credit: Alcantara Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Brazil’s decades-long effort to launch satellites from its underused Alcântara Launch Center could finally be bearing fruit.

On Monday, Brazil and the United States signed a Technology Safeguards Agreement that will allow American companies to launch orbital rockets from Alcântara.
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Techstars, Starburst Announce Space-Focused Accelerator Program With U.S. Government And Corporate Consortium

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Unite to Disrupt Space Industry

LOS ANGELES and BOULDER, Colo. (Techstars/Starburst PR) – Techstars and Starburst announced today their joint effort to help entrepreneurs succeed in aerospace. The Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, a new Los Angeles-based program, will focus on the next generation of space technology companies and related frontier technologies. Matt Kozlov will be the managing director of the program. Matt previously led the Cedars Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars in Los Angeles and has invested in over 30 companies. Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst, will be advising Kozlov and the broader program, applying his experience of accelerating over 300 aerospace startups.

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Maxar Reports Failure of DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-4 Satellite

Built by Lockheed Martin, the WorldView-4 satellite will expand DigitalGlobe’s industry-leading constellation of high-accuracy, high-resolution satellites, and double the availability of 30 cm resolution imagery for commercial and government customers around the globe. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

WESTMINSTER, CO, Jan. 7, 2019 (Maxar PR) – Maxar Technologies Inc. (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR) (“Maxar” or the “Company”), a global technology innovator powering the new space economy, today reported that its WorldView-4 satellite experienced a failure in its control moment gyros (“CMGs”), preventing the satellite from collecting imagery due to the loss of an axis of stability.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Enters Close Orbit Around Bennu, Breaking Record

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). (Credits: NASA/University of Arizona)

TUCSON (University of Arizona PR) — At 2:43 p.m. EST on December 31, while many on Earth prepared to welcome the New Year, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) away, carried out a single, eight-second burn of its thrusters – and broke a space exploration record. The spacecraft entered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu, and made Bennu the smallest object ever to be orbited by a spacecraft.

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MILO Institute Launches a New Model for Space Exploration

The MILO team after a reception at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany. (Credit: Antonio Stark)

PHOENIX (ASU PR) — Space is daunting in its enormity and tantalizing in its mysteries, and missions to explore those mysteries are audacious and ambitious. They are also expensive.

Traditionally, governments lead most space science missions. But due to limited budgets, many good ideas never get off the ground. In fact, for every 10 missions proposed to NASA, only one is selected to proceed. Columns of smoke erupt as a rocket launches into the night sky.

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