Release and Retract Test Marks Artemis I Mission Milestone

A close-up view of the Artemis I Space Launch System rocket inside High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 20, 2021. All 10 levels of work platforms have been retracted from around the rocket as part of the umbilical release and retract test. (Credit: NASA/Frank Michaux)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs successfully completed the Umbilical Release and Retract Test on Sept. 19 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the Artemis I mission.

The umbilicals will provide power, communications, coolant, and fuel to the rocket and the Orion spacecraft while at the launch pad until they disconnect and retract at ignition and liftoff.

(more…)

Aerojet Rocketdyne Expands Los Angeles Facility for NASA’s Moon and Mars Rocket

Aerojet Rocketdyne cuts the ribbon on an extension to the company’s Los Angeles rocket production facility that will support NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Artemis program. Pictured left to right: Jim Maser, Sr. Vice President of Space at Aerojet Rocketdyne; Johnny Heflin, Manager of NASA’s Space Launch System Liquid Engines Office; Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President; Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA); Dr. Paul McConnaughey, Senior Advisor, NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate; Fernando Vivero, Aerojet Rocketdyne Los Angeles Site Lead. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 18, 2021 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne has finished a major expansion of its Los Angeles facility to support production of new-generation RS-25 main engines for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which will send astronauts to the Moon as early as 2024.

(more…)

Orion Stage Adapter Readied for Ride on Artemis I

CubeSats installed for the Artemis I mission. (Credit: NASA/Cory Huston)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Technicians continue to prepare small satellites, called CubeSats, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for their upcoming launch on the Artemis I mission. Technicians from the agency’s Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs worked with developers of the shoebox-sized secondary payloads as they underwent final processing and were secured inside the Orion stage adapter.

The ring-shaped stage adapter will be connected to the Space Launch System (SLS) Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, and the Orion spacecraft will be secured on top. All CubeSats will be deployed after SLS completes its primary mission, launching the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory toward the Moon. Although small in size, the CubeSats will conduct a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations including some that will expand our knowledge of the lunar surface during the Artemis I mission.

Artemis I will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, and the ground systems at Kennedy. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.

NASA Statement on GAO Ruling Regarding Human Landing System Protest

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is the NASA statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision released Friday on the human landing system protest:

“NASA was notified Friday, July 30, that the U.S. Government Accountability Office has denied the protests filed by Blue Origin Federation and Dynetics and has upheld the agency’s source selection of SpaceX to continue the development of its human landing system. The decision enables NASA to award the contract that will ultimately result in the first crewed demonstration landing on the surface of the Moon under NASA’s Artemis plan. Importantly, the GAO’s decision will allow NASA and SpaceX to establish a timeline for the first crewed landing on the Moon in more than 50 years.

“NASA recognizes that sending American astronauts back to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo program and establishing a long-term presence on the Moon is a priority for the Biden Administration and is imperative for maintaining American leadership in space. In the face of challenges during the last year, NASA and its partners have made significant achievements to advance Artemis, including a successful hot fire test for the Space Launch System rocket. An uncrewed flight of Artemis I is on track for this year and a crewed Artemis II mission is planned for 2023. 

“NASA is moving forward with urgency, but astronaut safety is the priority and the agency will not sacrifice the safety of the crew in the steadfast pursuit of the goal to establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

“As soon as possible, NASA will provide an update on the way ahead for Artemis, the human landing system, and humanity’s return to the Moon. We will continue to work with the Biden Administration and Congress to ensure funding for a robust and sustainable approach for the nation’s return to the Moon in a collaborative effort with U.S. commercial partners.” 

Two More Artemis I Deep Space CubeSats Prepare for Launch

Members of the EQUULEUS (EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft) team prepare their CubeSat to be loaded in the Space Launch System’s Orion stage adapter for launch on the Artemis I mission. This CubeSat, developed jointly by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo, will help scientists understand the radiation environment in the region of space around Earth called the plasmasphere. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Two additional secondary payloads that will travel to deep space on Artemis I, the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, are ready for launch.

(more…)

NASA Solar Sail Asteroid Mission Readies for Launch on Artemis I

Illustration of NASA’s NEA Scout with the solar sail deployed as it flies by its asteroid destination. (Credit: NASA)

Sailing on sunlight, NEA Scout will capture images of an asteroid for scientific study.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Near-Earth Asteroid Scout is tucked away safely inside the agency’s powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The solar sailing CubeSat is one of several secondary payloads hitching a ride on Artemis I, the first integrated flight of the agency’s SLS and the Orion spacecraft.

(more…)

Public Names ‘Moonikin’ Flying Around Moon on NASA’s Artemis I Mission

Arturo Campos, electrical power subsystem manager for the Apollo 13 lunar module. (Credits: Courtesy of the Campos Family)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — “Commander Moonikin Campos” is the official name of the manikin launching on Artemis I, NASA’s uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft around the Moon later this year. The Moonikin received its name as the result of a competitive bracket contest honoring NASA figures, programs, or astronomical objects. NASA received more than 300,000 votes.

(more…)

NASA Construction & Environmental Compliance Budget Request Fact Sheet

Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California.

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Construction & Environmental Compliance & Restoration
($ Millions)

Construction & Environmental Compliance Restoration (CECR) provides for capital repairs and improvements to NASA’s infrastructure and environmental compliance and restoration activities. With installations in 14 states, NASA collectively manages an inventory of more than 5,000 buildings and structures, of which 83 percent are beyond designed life. To ensure American preeminence in space, science, technology, and avionics, the Budget funds repair, replacement, and modernization of NASA’s infrastructure. The FY 2022 budget provides for vital repair and construction work to ensure NASA’s physical assets are safe, reliable, and mission-ready.

(more…)

NASA Deep Space Exploration Budget Request Fact Sheet

Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Deep Space Exploration Systems
($ Millions)

The FY 2022 Budget for the Deep Space Exploration Systems account consists of two areas, Exploration Systems Development (ESD) and Exploration Research and Development (ERD), which provide for the development of systems and capabilities needed for the human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

(more…)

Biden-Harris Administration Shows Strong Support for NASA in First 100 Days

President Joe Biden stands with a model of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which achieved its first flight on the Red Planet April 19. (Credits: White House/Adam Schultz)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris Administration, NASA has taken bold steps to expand America’s exploration and scientific frontiers, advancing the nation’s commitment to build back better through innovation, combat climate change, re-establish America’s standing abroad, and inspire the next generation.

(more…)

NASA’s Space Launch System Core Stage Heads to Kennedy Space Center

Artemis I core stage leaves Stennis Space Center on the Pegasus barge. (Credit: NASA)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — The first core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket departs Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, following completion of the Green Run series of tests of its design and systems. The stage now is in route to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, its final stop prior to NASA’s launch of the Artemis I mission around the Moon. At Kennedy, the core stage will be integrated with the rest of the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft in preparation for launch. Through the Artemis program, NASA will return humans, including the first woman and first person of color, to the Moon and prepare for eventual journeys to Mars.

(more…)

Boeing’s 1st Core Stage for NASA’s Space Launch System is Ready for Journey to Launch Site

SLS Core stage for Artemis I mission removed from the test stand at Stennis. (Credit: NASA)
  • Stennis refurbishment complete following flawless test fire
  • NASA to accept delivery of rocket stage to prepare for transport to Kennedy Space Center for integration and launch

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Mississippi, April 21, 2021 (Boeing PR) — Boeing [NYSE: BA]  begins delivery of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket cryogenic core stage to NASA today in preparation for launch of the Artemis I mission, the first moon mission in nearly 50 years.

(more…)

Surprise! NASA Artemis Lunar Program Schedule Likely to Slip Again, 2024 Landing Unlikely

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The latest in a series of updates from NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) says that despite making significant progress on the $86 billion Artemis program, the space agency’s schedule for returning astronauts to the moon in four years is likely to slip. [Full report]

“Nonetheless, the Agency faces significant challenges that we believe will make its current plan to launch Artemis I in 2021 and ultimately land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 highly unlikely,” the update said.

(more…)

NASA to Announce SpaceX Human Lunar Landing System Contract at 4 p.m. Friday

An astronaut descends the ladder to explore the lunar surface. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT today, Friday, April 16, to announce the company or companies selected to move forward in developing a single-source contract to SpaceX to develop a modern human landing system (HLS) that will carry the next two American astronauts to the surface of the Moon and pave the way for sustainable lunar exploration under the Artemis program.

Tune in for a special announcement followed by a livestream of the teleconference audio at:

http://www.nasa.gov/live

Participating in the teleconference are:

  • Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
  • Mark Kirasich, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems division
  • Lisa Watson-Morgan, HLS program manager
  • Tyler Cochran, HLS contracting officer

The HLS is a vital part of NASA’s deep space exploration plans, along with the Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, ground systems, and Gateway. NASA is committed to using a commercial HLS to carry the first woman and first person of color to the surface of the Moon during Artemis missions, leading a path to sustainable exploration and preparing humanity for the next giant leap, human exploration of Mars.

For more information about the Artemis program, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/artemis

NASA Conducts 2nd RS-25 Test in Latest Series for Artemis Moon Missions

RS-25 engine test. (Credit; NASA)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — NASA conducted a second RS-25 single engine hot fire test April 6 as part of a new series to support the development and production of engines for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on future missions to the Moon.

The full-duration hot fire of more than eight minutes (500 seconds) was conducted on the A-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis. It is part of a scheduled seven-test series designed to provide valuable data for Aerojet Rocketdyne, lead contractor for the SLS engines, as it begins production of new RS-25 engines for use after the first four SLS flights.

(more…)