ESA’s Luna Facility to Bring the Moon to Earth

A virtual reality rendering of what the Luna facility at ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, might look like once constructed. (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, 17 October 2018 (ESA PR) — A facility planned for ESA’s Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, will recreate the Moon’s surface on Earth. ESA project manager for strategic planning and future development Andreas Diekmann shares how the three-part lunar analogue facility, known as Luna, will help Europe go farther in space.

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NASA Issues Call for Lunar Surface Instruments, Technology Payloads

Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has announced a call for Lunar Surface Instrument and Technology Payloads that will fly to the Moon on commercial lunar landers as early as next year or 2020. The agency is working with U.S. industry and international partners to expand human exploration from the Moon to Mars. It all starts with robotic missions on the lunar surface, as well as a Gateway for astronauts in space orbiting the Moon.
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NASA OIG Forecasts Further Delays, Large Cost Overruns for SLS

Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft on Pad 39B. (Credit: NASA)

A new audit by the NASA Inspector General criticizes Boeing for its management of the stages of the Space Launch System (SLS) while forecasting further delays and large cost overruns for the beleaguered program that is designed to send astronauts to deep space.

“As of August 2018, NASA has spent $11.9 billion on the SLS, but will require significant additional funding to complete the first Core Stage—more than 3 years later than initially planned and at double the anticipated cost,” the audit concluded.

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Draper Laboratory Unveils Team for NASA’s Next Moonshot

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper, a company with a heritage in space exploration dating to the Apollo moon landings, announced today its team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract. Under the proposal, the team will support NASA in the delivery of small rovers and instruments to meet lunar science and exploration needs, advance development of lunar landers for human missions and conduct more research on the moon’s surface ahead of a human return.

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NASA Seeks Partnerships with U.S. Companies to Advance Exploration Space Tech

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA partnerships are crucial for expanding capabilities and opportunities in space. The agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is seeking new partnerships with U.S. companies through an Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO) solicitation.

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STMD has five strategic thrust areas, representing the capabilities needed for robotic and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

  1. Go – Enable safe and efficient transportation into and through space
  2. Land – Increase access to planetary surfaces
  3. Live – Enable humans to live and explore in space and on planetary surfaces
  4. Explore – Expand capabilities through robotic exploration and discovery
  5. Prosper – Accelerate the industrialization of space

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NASA Deepens International Space Cooperation

Jim Bridenstine (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BREMEN, Germany (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine took advantage of the global presence at the 2018 International Astronautical Congress to sign three new agreements, underpinning the agency’s continued commitment to international cooperation. The agreements, with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, covered lunar exploration, X-ray astronomy and human space flight.

NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) agreed to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the Moon in 2019. NASA will contribute a laser retroreflector array to aid with ground tracking and Deep Space Network support to aid in mission communication. ISA and SpaceIL will share data with NASA from the SpaceIL lunar magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.

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Russia Expresses Lunar Gateway Doubts, Ponders Joint Lunar Surface Base with China

The space station formerly known as the Deep Space Gateway (Credit: NASA)

Russian officials are expressing doubts about the American-led Lunar Gateway — which would orbit the moon — while deepening cooperation with China on deep-space exploration projects that could include a crewed base on the surface of Earth’s closest neighbor.

SpaceNews reports that Dmitri Loskutov, head of Roscosmos’ international cooperation department, laid out a series of concerns during a panel discussion last week at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany.

“For the moment, it looks like it is an American program with international participation,” he said. “How will this cooperation be managed? Will there be some sort of international administrative body? Will its principles remain those that are now valid for the International Space Station, in terms of consensus in decision-making?”

“For the moment, all the decisions are made by NASA. It seems U.S. standards will be imposed,” he said. “For Roscosmos and the Russian Federation, limited participation is not that interesting.”

Loskutov’s boss, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin, was in China the week before for joint discussions on a range of cooperative projects.

“As a result of the meeting, a Protocol was signed, according to which the Parties will take further steps to bring their positions closer within the framework of implementing joint projects on launch vehicles and rocket engines, on exploration of the Moon and deep space, remote sensing of the Earth, satellite navigation, creation of an electronic component base for space purposes, low-orbit mobile communication system and space debris monitoring,” according to a Roscosmos press release.

Tass quoted Rogozin as saying the project could include a base on the lunar surface.

“China is a serious partner. I don’t rule out that as soon as we agree the outlines of our lunar program with the Americans, it is our manned lunar program, the formation of a research station on Moon’s surface is likely to be carried out with our Chinese partners. They can be equal partners already in the coming years,” he told Russia’s TV Channel One.

Lockheed Martin Solicits Ideas for Commercial Payloads on Orion Spacecraft

Orion spacecraft (Credit: NASA)

DENVER, Oct. 5, 2018 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Today, at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, Germany, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced it is studying interest in flying commercial payloads aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The market analysis is the first step toward the company’s vision of bringing commercial opportunities to deep space and fostering a thriving commercial marketplace beyond low-Earth orbit.

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NASA, UAE Space Agency Sign Historic Agreement for Cooperation in Human Spaceflight

BREMEN, Germany (NASA PR) — NASA and the UAE Space Agency (UAESA) signed an Implementing Arrangement (IA) Monday, Oct. 1, that outlines cooperation across a range of areas related to space exploration and human spaceflight. The document was signed by H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a ceremony at the 69th International Astronautical Congress, being held in Bremen, Germany Oct. 1-5.

The IA falls under the overarching Framework Agreement signed between the UAESA and NASA in June 2016, which established a framework for areas of cooperation in ground-based research; sub-orbital research; research and flight activities in low-Earth orbit (LEO); and human and robotic exploration in the vicinity of the moon, on the lunar surface, and beyond.

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Astrobotic Announces Joint Ecuadorian-Colombian Payload Partnership to the Moon

Credit: Astrobotic

BREMEN, Germany, October 4, 2014 (Astrobotic PR)  — Agencia Espacial Civil Ecuatoriana (EXA), and Agencia Espacial de Colombia (AEC) proudly announce at the 69th International Astronautical Congress their intent to sign a joint agreement with Astrobotic on October 5th to begin a lunar exploration campaign across multiple Peregrine lunar lander missions.

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NASA, Israel Space Agency Sign Agreement for Commercial Lunar Cooperation

Lunar lander (Credit: SpaceIL)

BREMEN, Germany (NASA PR) — NASA has signed an agreement with the Israel Space Agency (ISA) to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the Moon in 2019.

NASA will contribute a laser retroreflector array to aid with ground tracking and Deep Space Network support to aid in mission communication. ISA and SpaceIL will share data with NASA from the SpaceIL lunar magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft.

The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site. The data will be made publicly available through NASA’s Planetary Data System.  In addition, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will attempt to take scientific measurements of the SpaceIL lander as it lands on the Moon.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency. Dr. Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL, was also present.

“I’m thrilled to extend progress in commercial cooperation we’ve made in low-Earth orbit to the lunar environment with this new agreement with the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Innovative partnerships like this are going to be essential as we go forward to the Moon and create new opportunities there.”

SpaceIL competed in the Google Lunar X Prize, and continues to work toward landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. Together, NASA and SpaceIL will collaborate on analyzing the scientific data returned from the mission.

The agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its international partners are taking to team up with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

Blue Origin, OHB & MT Aerospace Sign Letter of Intent to Cooperate on Lunar Missions

Blue Moon lander (Credit: Blue Origin)

BREMEN, Germany, October 2, 2018 (OHB PR) — The OHB Group today signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for future cooperation with the U.S. aerospace company Blue Origin. The document was signed by Dr. Lutz Bertling and Kurt Melching, members of the Management Board of OHB SE, Hans J. Steininger, CEO of MT Aerospace and Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, during a bilateral meeting at the International Space Congress IAC in Bremen.

The aim is to explore the extent to which OHB, MT Aerospace and Blue Origin can work together across the Atlantic. The companies have partnered on a future Blue Moon mission to the lunar surface – Blue Origin’s lunar lander capable of bringing several metric tons of cargo to the Moon. The companies will collaborate on a payload on board Blue Origin’s reusable orbital rocket New Glenn. The use of these systems and possible cooperation will be the subject of in-depth discussions in the transatlantic dialogue.

“We are delighted to have gained Blue Origin as a dialogue partner who has established itself over the past few years as one of the leading companies in the aerospace industry,” says Lutz Bertling. “We are convinced that the mixture of the respective competencies will quickly lead to concrete approaches for further cooperation”.

Moon Express Signs MOU with Canadian Space Agency

BREMEN, GERMANY, October 3, 2018 (Moon Express PR) – Moon Express has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to explore options for collaboration with the CSA and Canada’s space sector on technologies and payloads for missions to the Moon.

Under the agreement, the CSA and Moon Express will explore the possibilities of using Moon Express lunar orbiter and lander systems for potential CSA payloads and will promote possibilities for collaboration between Moon Express and the Canadian space industry and academia. The bilateral MOU was signed today at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, by CSA President Sylvain Laporte and Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards.

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Government Funding in Space Exploration to Surpass $20 Billion by 2027

Credit: Euroconsult

Boost in public and private initiatives in space exploration with a converging global interest in Moon exploration

Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama, September 27, 2018 – According to Euroconsult’s latest report, Prospects for Space Exploration, global government investment in space exploration totaled $14.6 billion in 2017, a 6% increase compared to 2016. Fifteen leading space programs worldwide are estimated to contribute to this global investment, with the U.S. accounting for 74% of the total.

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Moon Express Closes $2.5 Million Bridge Financing, Secures $10 Million Lead Investor for Series B Round

CHICAGO, October 1, 2018 (Moon Express PR) – Moon Express has announced the successful closing of a $2.5M bridge round and the opening of a $20M Series B round anchored by a $10M lead investor. Proceeds of the financing will support the build out of the company’s Cape Canaveral facilities as well as spacecraft development for its commercial lunar flight program.

Moon Express Founder and CEO Bob Richards made the announcement during a closing keynote at The World Innovation Network (TWIN) Global Summit in Chicago. “We are at the dawn of an exciting new era of lunar exploration and development,” he stated to the international TWIN Global audience. “We’re excited about the new U.S. space policy to return to the Moon in a sustainable way with commercial partners and we look forward to working with NASA and other space agencies in exploring Earth’s eighth continent.”

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