Lucas Backs Trump Administration Plan to Land Astronauts on Moon in 2024


WASHINGTON (Frank Lucas PR) — House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas commented in support of the Administration’s proposed NASA budget amendment to once again land human on the Moon by 2024.

“America has long been the preeminent power in space but we’re facing more and more competition as other nations propose bold exploration plans,” Lucas said. “The President and Vice President’s challenge to land on the Moon by 2024 reflects the urgent need for American leadership in space – it’s an ambitious challenge but one I fully support and urge the American people to get behind. For too long U.S. space exploration has been plagued by both a lack of a bold vision and a long-term commitment to see ideas through to execution. Returning to the Moon is a national priority not only because it can help us learn more about our own planet, but because it will allow us to explore its resources and conduct groundbreaking research. It will help us develop and test the technology and life-support required for our most ambitious goal to date: sending humans to Mars.”

Lucas continued, “I commend the Administration for putting forward an initial plan that is budget neutral and technically feasible and gives NASA the down payment to send Americans to the Moon by 2024 without jeopardizing other critical missions. As NASA acknowledges, more information and more funding will be needed to make this goal a reality, and we’ll be reviewing those details as they become available. We must stay the course on this mission and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to make both the initial and long-term investments necessary to send American astronauts to the Moon and ultimately Mars.”

Charlie Brown or Snoopy: America’s Future in Space Hangs in the Balance

As the Apollo 10 crew walks along a corridor on the way to Launch Complex 39B, mission commander Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the mission’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 10, the final mission before the first manned landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

During the 8-day voyage, Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernan took the lunar module (LM) to within 47,400 feet (14.4 km) of the lunar surface before rendezvousing with the command service module (CSM) piloted by John Young.

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NASA Selects Paragon for SBIR Phase II Award

Paragon Space Development Corporation will continue to developed an improved system to remove liquid condensation from the air for use on the International Space Station and future crewed vehicles beyond low Earth orbit under a NASA grant.

NASA has selected the Tuscon, Ariz.-based company for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to continue work on the COndensate Separator for Microgravity Conditions (COSMIC) device. The contract is worth up to $750,000 over two years.

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House Subcommittee Boosts NASA Budget, Ignores Supplemental Request

Astronauts on a future lunar walk. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The House commerce, justice and science subcommittee approved a fiscal year 2020 budget for NASA that increases the space agency’s budget while ignoring a $1.6 billion supplemental budget request from the Trump Administration that NASA says is required to land astronauts on the south pole of the moon in 2024.

The House measure would boost NASA’s budget from $21.5 billion to $22.32 billion, an increase of $820 million. The amount is below the Trump Administration’s total request of $22.62 million for fiscal year 2020 (FY 2020). That would be an increase of $1.1 billion over NASA’s current budget.

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NASA’s New Horizons Team Publishes First Kuiper Belt Flyby Science Results

This composite image of the primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 (nicknamed Ultima Thule) – featured on the cover of the May 17 issue of the journal Science – was compiled from data obtained by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft as it flew by the object on Jan. 1, 2019. The image combines enhanced color data (close to what the human eye would see) with detailed high-resolution panchromatic pictures. (Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute/Roman Tkachenko)

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-new-horizons-team-publishes-first-kuiper-belt-flyby-science-results

NASA’s New Horizons mission team has published the first profile of the farthest world ever explored, a planetary building block and Kuiper Belt object called 2014 MU69.

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Made in Space Selected for Two NASA SBIR Phase II Awards

Made in Space will continue to pursue the development of advanced glass alloys and 3-D manufactured structures for space interferometry missions under a pair of contract awards from NASA.

The space agency selected the additive-manufacturing company for awards under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The contracts are worth a maximum of $750,000 apiece for up to two years.

“The next step in the industrialization of LEO is the formulation of base materials, such as specialty glasses, that can be refined into higher value products in microgravity,” the company said in a summary of its proposal. “The Glass Alloy Manufacturing Machine (GAMMA) is an experimental system designed to investigate how these materials form without the effects of gravity-induced flows and inform process improvements for commercial product development.”

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NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spots Beresheet Impact Site

Beresheet impact site as seen by LROC 11 days after the attempted landing. Date in lower left indicates when the image was taken. (Credits: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — The photo above shows the landing site of the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft on a region of the Moon called Sea of Serenity, or Mare Serenitatis in Latin. On April 11, 2019, SpaceIL, a non-profit organization, attempted to land its spacecraft in this ancient volcanic field on the nearside of the Moon. After a smooth initial descent, Beresheet made a hard landing on the surface.

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NASA Taps 11 American Companies to Advance Human Lunar Landers

Artist’s conception of lunar lander (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration program. This effort will help put American astronauts — the first woman and next man — on the Moon’s south pole by 2024 and establish sustainable missions by 2028.

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House Appropriations Committee Boosts Budgets for NASA, NOAA


WASHINGTON (House Appropriations Committee PR) — The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee on Friday, May 17. The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

The text of the bill is here. The subcommittee markup will be webcast live and linked from https://appropriations.house.gov/events/markups.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $22.32 billion, $815 million above the 2019 enacted level. This funding includes:

  • $7.16 billion for NASA Science programs – $255.6 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
  • $123 million for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement, $13 million above fiscal year 2019 and rejecting the Administration’s request to eliminate funding for these programs, which help inspire and train the country’s future STEM workforce.
  • $5.1 billion for Exploration – $79.1 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and related ground systems.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.48 billion for NOAA, which is $54.28 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and more than $1 million above the Administration’s request. Funding will help address important priorities such as climate research, improvements in weather forecasting, the reduction of harmful algal blooms, and fisheries management.

Editor’s Note: The measure does not seem to take into account the supplemental request made earlier this week for NASA.

Working on a freelance project right now, so I don’t have time to go through the bill. For anyone who has time to take a look at the text of the House markup (link above), here are some resources for comparison purposes:

University Association Opposes Use of Pell Grant Surplus for NASA, Other Programs

Credit: NASA

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

May 14, 2019

The Honorable Roy Blunt
Chairman
Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member
Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Chairwoman
House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee

The Honorable Tom Cole
Ranking Member
House LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee

Dear Chairman Blunt, Ranking Member Murray, Chairwoman DeLauro, and Ranking Member Cole:

I write to express the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ strong opposition to the administration’s revised budget request,which would rescind $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant reserve to, in part, fund the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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NASA Awards $106 Million to US Small Businesses for Technology Development

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Managing pilotless aircraft and solar panels that could help humans live on the Moon and Mars are among the technologies NASA is looking to develop with small business awards totaling $106 million. In all, NASA has selected 142 proposals from 129 U.S. small businesses from 28 states and the District of Columbia to receive Phase II contracts as part the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

“Small businesses play an important role in our science and exploration endeavors,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “NASA’s diverse community of partners, including small businesses across the country, helps us achieve our mission and cultivate the U.S. economy. Their innovations will help America land the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024, establish a sustainable presence on the lunar surface a few years later, and pursue exciting opportunities for going to Mars and beyond.”

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OCO-3 Ready to Extend NASA’s Study of Carbon

OCO-3 sits on the large vibration table (known as the “shaker”) in the Environmental Test Lab at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Updated at 12:35 a.m. PDT (3:35 a.m. EDT) on May 10

NASA’s OCO-3 was removed from the Dragon spacecraft and robotically installed on the exterior of the space station’s Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility as of approximately 9 p.m. PDT on May 9 (12 a.m. EDT on May 10). Over the next two days, a functional checkout will be performed and the OCO-3’s Pointing Mirror Assembly (PMA) will be deployed. The PMA and context cameras will then perform an initial survey of OCO-3’s surroundings to make sure nothing unexpected is interfering with its view of Earth.

Updated at 9:10 a.m./p.m. PDT (12:10 p.m. EDT) on May 4

SpaceX CRS-17 launched Friday, May 3, 11:48 p.m. PDT (Saturday, May 4, 2:48 a.m. EDT).

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — When the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, OCO-3, heads to the International Space Station, it will bring a new view — literally — to studies of Earth’s carbon cycle.

From its perch on the space station, OCO-3 will observe near-global measurements of carbon dioxide on land and sea, from just after sunrise to just before sunset. That makes it far more versatile and powerful than its predecessor, OCO-2.

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Untangling the Numbers in NASA’s Supplemental Budget Request

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In seeking a $1.6 billion increase in NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2020 to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, the Trump Administration has claimed that “no NASA programs were cut” to accommodate the new spending.  However, to quote Obi-wan Kenobi, this is only true from a certain point of view.

The Administration’s original FY 2020 request would cut NASA’s current $21.5 billion budget by $488 million while shifting funds from other space agency programs to the Artemis lunar program. Thus, the claim of no cuts can likely be interpreted as no reductions beyond what the Trump Administration has already proposed.

Further, the overall increase is not as large as it sounds. The supplemental request would increase NASA’s budget by $1.1 billion from its current $21.5 billion to $22.6 billion.

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Teams 3D Print Planetary Habitats, Awarded $700K in NASA Challenge

AI. SpaceFactory of New York wins the final round of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, held at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration & Learning Center in Edwards, Illinois. (Credits: NASA/Emmett Given)

PEORIA, Ill. (NASA PR) — After 30 hours of 3D printing over four days of head-to-head competition, NASA and partner Bradley University of Peoria, Illinois, have awarded $700,000 to two teams in the final round of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The top prize of $500,000 was awarded to New York based AI. SpaceFactory. Second-place and $200,000 was awarded to Pennsylvania State University of University Park.

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NASA’s First Planetary Defense Technology Demonstration to Collide with Asteroid in 2022

DART mission (Credit: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory)

by Justyna Surowiec
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) – NASA’s first mission to demonstrate a planetary defense technique – will get one chance to hit its target, the small moonlet in the binary asteroid system Didymos. The asteroid poses no threat to Earth and is an ideal test target: measuring the change in how the smaller asteroid orbits about the larger asteroid in a binary system is much easier than observing the change in a single asteroid’s orbit around the Sun. Work is ramping up at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and other locations across the country, as the mission heads toward its summer 2021 launch – and attempts to pull off a feat so far seen only in science fiction films.

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