Five Space Station Research Results Contributing to Deep Space Exploration

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst works on the MICS experiment aboard the International Space Station. Observations of how cement reacts in space during the hardening process may help engineers better understand its microstructure and material properties, which could improve cement processing techniques on Earth and lead to the design of safe, lightweight space habitats. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — More than 3,000 experiments have been conducted aboard the  International Space Station during the 21 years humans have been living and working in space. These experiments have provided insights helping improve life back on Earth and explore farther into the solar system. Researchers have shared these results in thousands of scientific publications.

Over the past few months, scientists shared the outcomes of space station studies that could help us recover more water from life support systems, construct Moon bases, grow plants in space, and more.

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New Composite Material Could Make Manufacturing on the Moon and Mars More Efficient

Above: An experimental composite material for the Moon/Mars cures inside an acrylic vacuum chamber. (Credit: PISCES)

HILO, Hawai’i (PISCES PR) — NASA has plans to put humans back on the Moon as early as 2025 and ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) will be a crucial technology for establishing the infrastructure needed to sustain humans in the harsh lunar environment. Using raw, native materials, ISRU can provide vital resources like breathable air, tools or building blocks for shelters.

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Team Confirms Water on the Moon with Ground Equipment

View of the Chang’E-5 landing site. (Credit: CNSA/CLEP)

MANOA, Hawaii (University of Hawaii PR) — The first on-the-ground detection of water on the Moon’s surface was reported by an international team of researchers, including Shuai Li, a planetary geologist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Understanding the concentrations and distributions of water on the Moon is critical to understanding its formation and evolution, and to providing water resources for future human exploration.

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Plus Ultra and ispace Aim to Deploy Communications and Navigation Infrastructure in Lunar Orbit

LUXEMBOURG, 20 January 2022 (ispace PR) – Plus Ultra Space Outposts (Plus Ultra), a European company developing a lunar satellite constellation, and ispace Europe (ispace EU), the European branch of ispace, inc., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on joint lunar missions. The MoU includes the transport and deployment of satellites into lunar orbit, as early as 2024, to provide communications and navigations services.

Plus Ultra and ispace intend to combine their complementary capabilities to further explore the possibilities of commercial space resources on the Moon and in lunar orbit. Under the terms of the MoU, ispace would transport Plus Ultra’s lunar communication satellites as customer payloads to the Moon. In return, Plus Ultra would provide lunar communications and navigation services to ispace, among other potential collaborations.

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Paragon and Northrop Grumman Finalize HALO Life Support Contract Valued in Excess of $100 Million

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)

TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 17, 2022 (Paragon SDC PR) — Paragon Space Development Corporation (Paragon) is proud to announce that Northrop Grumman has finalized its contract with Paragon valued in excess of $100 million for the life support system of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO) program. HALO will be deployed in lunar orbit as the first crew module of NASA’s Lunar Gateway. HALO will serve as both a crew habitat and docking station for spacecraft that will routinely travel between the Earth and the moon.

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Rep. Randy Weber Introduces U.S. Leadership in Space Act

Randy Weber

WASHINGTON D.C. (Randy Weber PR) – On Thursday,  January 13, 2022, Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX-14), introduced H.R. 6391, the U.S. Leadership in Space Act of 2021.

“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history. It is important that Congress does the job it was intended to do: authorize, and then subsequently fund, critical government programs. Especially those that strengthen national security and scientific discovery.

“Space is an important domain for several reasons. As any military leader will tell you, whoever occupies the high ground has the strategic advantage. Continued inaction by Congress to adequately address the growing threats posed by an expanding uncontrolled debris field in earth’s orbit; the irresponsible and reckless anti-satellite missile tests by Russia that recently endangered the lives of astronauts (and cosmonauts) aboard the International Space Station (ISS); and the years of intellectual property theft, critical supply chain control, and other nefarious practices by China, require that Congress and this Administration come together to pass meaningful legislation that will ensure continued American preeminence in space.

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MDA Awarded Another Contract to Provide Lunar Landing Sensors as Number of Planned Moon Missions Increases

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA Ltd. (TSX:MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly-expanding global space industry, today announced a contract with an undisclosed US-based space company for a key landing sensor for a 2023 mission to the Moon. This award was made as part of the company’s project involving NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative.

“Momentum is building as governments and private sector organizations work hand in glove on a shared mission that will take us back towards the Moon and beyond,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA. “MDA is proud to be part of that collaboration and we look forward to supporting the upcoming missions to the lunar surface where our robotics and sensor technologies will play an important enabling role.”

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Cheops Reveals a Rugby Ball-shaped Exoplanet

Artist impression of planet WASP-103b and its host star. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s exoplanet mission Cheops has revealed that an exoplanet orbiting its host star within a day has a deformed shape more like that of a rugby ball than a sphere. This is the first time that the deformation of an exoplanet has been detected, offering new insights into the internal structure of these star-hugging planets.

The planet, known as WASP-103b is located in the constellation of Hercules. It has been deformed by the strong tidal forces between the planet and its host star WASP-103, which is about 200 degrees hotter and 1.7 times larger than the Sun.

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NASA Prepares SLS Moon Rockets for First Crewed Artemis Missions

Casting and assembly of solid rocket booster, shown her, for the Artemis IV mission is underway at Northrop Grumman’s factory in Promontory, Utah. The booster motors for Artemis II and Artemis III have completed casting and are ready to go to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where they will be assembled with other booster hardware being prepared for the missions. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — As teams continue to prepare NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its debut flight with the launch of Artemis I, NASA and its partners across the country have made great progress building the rocket for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission. The team is also manufacturing and testing major parts for Artemis missions III, IV and V.

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2021 in Review: Highlights from NASA in Silicon Valley

Ingenuity Mars helicopter flies on the Red Planet. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Join us as we look back at the highlights of 2021 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

1) NASA’s water-hunting Moon rover, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, made great strides this year. The VIPER team successfully completed practice runs of the full-scale assembly of the Artemis program’s lunar rover in VIPER’s new clean room. Two rounds of egress testing let rover drivers practice exiting the lander and rolling onto the rocky surface of the Moon. NASA also announced the landing site selected for the robotic rover, which will be delivered to the Nobile region of the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023 as part of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. NASA also chose eight new VIPER science team members and their proposals to expand and complement VIPER’s already existing science team and planned investigations. This year’s progress contributed to VIPER’s completion of its Critical Design Review, turning the mission’s focus toward construction of the rover beginning in late 2022.

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Callisto Technology Demonstration to Fly Aboard Orion for Artemis I

Artist’s impression of Orion over Earth. (Credit: NASA/ESA/ATG Medialab)

By Erika Peters
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Flying on NASA’s Orion spacecraft during the uncrewed Artemis I mission will be Callisto, a technology demonstration developed through a reimbursable space act agreement with Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin has partnered with Amazon, and Cisco to bring the Alexa digital assistant and Webex video collaboration aboard Orion’s first flight test in deep space.

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NASA Glenn Continued Research in 2021 for Space Exploration and Next-Gen Aeronautics

Credit: NASA

CLEVELAND, Ohio (NASA PR) — Looking deeper at the way fire behaves in space, Glenn researchers delivered the fifth in a series of NASA investigations in January. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment-V (Saffire-V) successfully tested larger, more dynamic fires for over 26 hours inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

As NASA Glenn continued to manage the difficulties of the pandemic, scientific and technology research continued at a rapid clip this year with an eye toward the future.

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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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Norwegian Gas Meter Sent to International Space Station

ANITA-2 gas meter. (Credit; Norwegian Space Agency)

ANITA-2 has been developed by SINTEF in collaboration with ESA and OHB, and supported by the Norwegian Space Center.

By Berit Ellingsen

OSLO, Norway — At the International Space Station, it is not just a matter of opening a window if astronauts suspect the leak of one of the many gases used on board.

Here the air consists of the same gases as on earth: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases in small amounts. But both people, interior and equipment emit different trace gases. Several different types of spacecraft carry supplies and experiments to the space station, and they can also be a source of gases.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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