Lunar Gateway Instruments to Improve Weather Forecasting for Artemis Astronauts

Artist’s concept of the Gateway Power and Propulsion Element, or PPE, and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon. The gold box on the right side of the image depicts the HERMES payload. The ERSA payload is the silver box just below it. (Credits: NASA)

by Miles Hatfield
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — One of the first things people want to know before taking a trip is what the weather will be like wherever they are headed. For Artemis astronauts traveling on missions to the Moon, two space weather instrument suites, NASA’s HERMES and ESA’s ERSA, will provide an early forecast. Weather in this case means energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields hurtling through the solar system.

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Northrop Grumman Completes Preliminary Design Review for NASA’s Gateway Crew Module

Artist illustration of Northrop Grumman’s HALO module and the Power Propulsion Element which form the first critical component of NASA’s Gateway. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Company based the design for HALO on its flight-proven Cygnus spacecraft

DULLES, Va., Nov. 18, 2020 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed its initial preliminary design review (PDR) event for the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO). The module will serve as living quarters for astronauts at the Gateway during lunar exploration missions.

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OIG Audit: NASA Gateway Elements Behind Schedule, Over Budget

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s attempt to use innovative acquisition practices to speed up development of the lunar Gateway has left the first two elements of the station over budget and behind schedule, according to a new audit from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General.

It is also unlikely the human-tended Gateway will be capable of supporting the planned 2024 mission to land American astronauts at the south pole of the moon, the audit concluded.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Sticks a Fork in NASA’s 2024 Moon Landing Plan

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It looks as if the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts on the moon in 2024 is expiring at about the same time as the administration itself. The fatal blow is being struck by Congress, not the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has released a fiscal year 2021 funding bill that includes $1 billion for NASA to Human Landing System (HLS) that will take astronauts to and from the lunar surface as part of the Artemis program. The amount is far short of the $3.2 billion that NASA has said is needed for HLS to keep the 2024 landing on schedule.

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NASA, European Space Agency Formalize Artemis Gateway Partnership

Artemis Gateway orbiting the moon. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and ESA (European Space Agency)  have finalized an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway. This agreement is an important element in a broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration and to demonstrate technologies necessary for a future human mission to Mars. The agreement, signed Tuesday, marks NASA’s first formal commitment to launch international crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASA’s Artemis missions.

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Positive Signs for Europe as ESA Goes Forward to the Moon

Artemis Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Director General Jan Wörner and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to take Europe to the Moon.

The historic agreement will see ESA Member States contribute a number of essential elements to the first human outpost in lunar orbit, known as the Gateway.

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NASA, ESA Sign MOU to Work Together on Artemis Lunar Program

Lunar Gateway (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

by Jim Bridenstine
NASA Administrator

Today we announced the first in a series of upcoming commitments from our international partners to support our Artemis plans. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed an agreement committing our space agencies to building the Gateway together. As our outpost in lunar orbit, the Gateway is critical for sustainable exploration of the Moon as well as testing systems and operations for future missions to Mars.

With this Memorandum of Understanding, ESA will provide an additional habitation element, enhanced lunar communications, and a refueling capability to the Gateway later this decade. They will also provide two more European service modules for future Orion spacecraft.

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ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space to Build Two Modules for Lunar Gateway

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

Turin, October, 14 2020 – Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), will develop two key modules for the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform–Gateway (LOP-G): I-HAB (International Habitat) and the ESPRIT communications and refueling module.

These two modules are the European contribution for this Gateway. The first tranche of I-HAB contract, (worth 36 million euros, the global amount being 327 million euros), has been signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), while ESPRIT development has already started under Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with a contract signature expected by the end of the year.

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Canadian Space Agency Signs Artemis Accords

Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of Canada. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

LONGUEIUL, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is working with national and international partners to write the next chapter of space exploration—sending humans to more distant destinations like the Moon and Mars.

Today, the CSA proudly joined other space agencies – NASA, the Australian Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Luxembourg Space Agency, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, and the UK Space Agency – in signing the Artemis Accords. This commitment is an important first step towards ensuring safe and sustainable exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.

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Bridenstine Responds to Rogozin’s Complaint that Artemis Program is “Too American-centric”

Shared Standards are a Vital Part of Future Space Exploration

Statement by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

I am in agreement with Director General Rogozin and Roscosmos that shared standards are a vital part of future space exploration. Specifically, one of the core principles of the Artemis Accords is interoperability. Via the Accords, the U.S. is proactively asking any partner nations that join us on the Artemis journey to focus on shared standards that will not just include docking, but data formatting and transfer, communications, navigation, environmental control and life support, and numerous other important systems and operations. The U.S. and its commercial and international partners look forward to working with the international community to ensure that interoperability and shared standards are the cornerstone of future space architectures, including the Gateway and other aspects of the Artemis program.

Additionally, we also believe in continuing the multilateral approach that has been successfully established by the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS has not only advanced technology, but helped us to learn how to effectively work together with a variety of cultures and countries. This is why we’re using the Intergovernmental Agreement (the IGA) which is the ISS’s legal framework for Gateway. The Gateway partners are agreeing to leverage the IGA for the outpost’s operations through a series of MOUs with participating nations. In order to build as broad a coalition as possible, we shared a draft of the proposed Gateway MOU with Roscosmos in November of last year, and we remain open and interested in receiving their feedback on the document and our general approach of utilizing the ISS’s IGA for the Gateway.

Rogozin Say NASA’s Artemis Plans “too American-centric,” See “Great Prospects” for Chinese Cooperation

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

Translated from Russian

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — Dmitry Rogozin, General Director of the State Corporation Roscosmos, took part in the 71st International Astronautical Congress, which takes place from 12 to 14 October 2020. Due to the epidemiological situation, the congress is being held online for the first time in 70 years of its existence. In his opening remarks, Dmitry Rogozin emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space.

“With regard to the International Space Station, we are negotiating with partners in the program to extend the life of the station until 2028 or 2030. There are various scenarios and options for the further development of the ISS. For our part, we are ready to consider any option offered by our partners and make a joint agreed decision, “the head of Roscosmos said, stressing that the State Corporation is firmly committed to guaranteeing the preservation of Russia’s place in low Earth orbit, regardless of the decisions made regarding service life of the ISS.

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Solar Cycle 25 Is Here. NASA, NOAA Scientists Explain What That Means

This split image shows the difference between an active Sun during solar maximum (on the left, captured in April 2014) and a quiet Sun during solar minimum (on the right, captured in December 2019). December 2019 marks the beginning of Solar Cycle 25, and the Sun’s activity will once again ramp up until solar maximum, predicted for 2025. (Credits: NASA/SDO)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Solar Cycle 25 has begun. During a media event on Tuesday, experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) discussed their analysis and predictions about the new solar cycle – and how the coming upswing in space weather will impact our lives and technology on Earth, as well as astronauts in space.

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GITAI, JAXA Start Business Concept Co-creation Activities for World’s First Space Work Robot Business

Translated from Japanese with Google Translate

TOKYO (JAXA/GITAI PR) — GITAI Japan Co., Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will identify tasks that require robotics in outer space, and robots that perform these tasks. Aiming to acquire technology and provide services by robots, we will start business concept co-creation activities under the JAXA Space Innovation Partnership and and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative.

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Vancouver Recommendations on Space Mining

Vancouver Recommendations on Space Mining
The Outer Space Institute
April 20, 2020

Background

Humanity is entering a new era of developing and utilizing Space that will likely include mining on the Moon, on near-Earth asteroids, and eventually on Mars. As part of this new era, a growing number of state and non-state actors are becoming capable of accessing and operating in Space.

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