NS-23 to Fly 36 Payloads and Tens of Thousands of Club for the Future Postcards to Space

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Credits: Blue Origin)

SEATTLE (Blue Origin PR) — On August 31, New Shepard’s 23rd mission, a dedicated payloads flight, will fly 36 payloads from academia, research institutions, and students across the globe. The launch window opens at 8:30 AM CDT / 13:30 UTC from Launch Site One in West Texas. 

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Earth Strikes Back: NASA Probe Will Crash into Asteroid in 7 Weeks

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The countdown is on for NASA’s first attempt to deflect an asteroid — a test that could prove vital in the future should one pose a major threat to the Earth.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Mission (DART) mission is 48 days away from its collision with asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26. Edward Reynolds, DART program manager at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, gave a preview of the mission and the role a Cubesat will play in it during the Small Satellite 2022 conference in Logan, Utah.

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RIT Faculty and Alumni Receive NASA Funding to Develop New Diffractive Solar Sail Concepts

Alumna Amber Dubill receives phase III award from NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program

Diffractive solar sails, depicted in this conceptual illustration, could enable missions to hard-to-reach places, like orbits over the Sun’s poles. (Image Credit: MacKenzi Martin)

ROCHESTER, NY (Rochester Institute of Technology PR) –NASA announced new funding for a project led by Rochester Institute of Technology alumni, faculty, and students that could power spacecraft to orbit the sun’s poles for the first time. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program will provide Phase III funding to the Diffractive Solar Sailing project led by Amber Dubill ’20 (mechanical engineering), ’20 MS (mechanical engineering) of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.‌

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Rocket Lab Moon Mission for NASA a Success as CAPSTONE Heads for the Moon

Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab successfully deploys CAPSTONE satellite to lunar transfer orbit for NASA, charting a new path to the Moon. CAPSTONE is testing a never-before-flown orbit of the Moon and is the first mission of NASA’s Artemis program

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 4, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has successfully deployed a pathfinding satellite for NASA, setting it on a course to the Moon.  The deployment marks the successful completion of Rocket Lab’s first deep space mission, paving the way for the Company’s upcoming interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus. 

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Lunar Outpost Announces $12 Million Seed Investment to Scale Mobility Technology Enabling Commercial Lunar Advancement

M1-MAPP, the rover selected as the payload mobility provider by Nokia and Intuitive Machines to deploy Nokia’s 4G LTE network on the lunar surface. (Credit: Lunar Outpost)

GOLDEN, Colo. (Lunar Outpost PR) – Lunar Outpost, a global leader in commercial planetary mobility, announced a $12 million seed funding round today. The closed round was led by Explorer 1 Fund with participation from Promus Ventures, Space Capital, Type 1 Ventures and Cathexis Ventures. The capital will be used to launch a new class of autonomous lunar rovers, deploy Lunar Outpost’s robotic technologies in additional environments, and invest in new technologies to improve its existing platforms. Explorer 1 Fund Principal Daniel Kleinman and Promus Ventures Partner Gareth Keane also joined Lunar Outpost’s Board of Directors.

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NASA-Supported Solar Sail Could Take Science to New Heights

Diffractive solar sails, depicted in this conceptual illustration, could enable missions to hard-to-reach places, like orbits over the Sun’s poles. (Image Credit: MacKenzi Martin)

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — As NASA’s exploration continues to push boundaries, a new solar sail concept selected by the agency for development toward a demonstration mission could carry science to new destinations.

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AFRL/AFOSR to Conduct Sound Rocket Launch at NASA Wallops for Hypersonics Research

Sounding rocket lifts off from Wallops Flight Facility. (Credit: NASA/Allison Stancil-Ervin)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – A launch of a two-stage suborbital sounding rocket for the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s BOLT II flight experiment is set to take place the evening of March 21 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch will be provided on NASA Wallops YouTube channel. Officials at NASA Wallops project the launch to be visible anywhere from 10 to 120 seconds from parts of seven states: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as well as Washington, D.C.

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NASA, FEMA, Other U.S. Partners Simulate Asteroid Impact Response

Credits: NASA

LAUREL, Md. (NASA PR) — This past month, NASA, FEMA, the United States Space Command, and other federal, state and local agencies convened for the fourth iteration of a Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise to inform and assess our nation’s ability to respond effectively to a (simulated) asteroid impact threat to Earth. While there are no predicted asteroid impact threats to our planet for the foreseeable future, this exercise—sponsored by NASA and FEMA and hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland—focused extensively on federal and state government coordination that would be necessary to respond to such a threat should one ever be discovered.

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NASA Begins Assembly of Europa Clipper Spacecraft

Clockwise from left: the propulsion module for NASA’s Europa Clipper, the ultraviolet spectrograph (called Europa-UVS), the high-gain antenna, and an illustration of the spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johns Hopkins APL)

Science instruments and other hardware for the spacecraft will come together in the mission’s final phase before a launch to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa in 2024.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When it’s fully assembled, NASA’s Europa Clipper will be as large as an SUV with solar arrays long enough to span a basketball court – all the better to help power the spacecraft during its journey to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. And just about every detail of the spacecraft will have been hand-crafted.

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Johns Hopkins APL Names Dr. Robert D. Braun as Space Exploration Sector Head

Robert Braun (Credit: Robert Braun)

LAUREL, Md. (JHU APL PR) — Dr. Robert D. Braun has been announced as the next head of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s (APL) Space Exploration Sector. His appointment begins on March 28, 2022.

Braun, who most recently served as Director for Planetary Science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), has more than 30 years of experience as a space systems engineer, technologist and organizational leader. He is internationally recognized as an authority in the development of entry, descent and landing systems.

“We are very pleased to welcome Bobby to the Laboratory,” said APL Director Ralph Semmel. “His achievements in leading space technology and science innovations, as well as his accomplishments in mission and program development, are an ideal match for the types of unique and complex challenges we undertake here.”

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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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NASA Goddard Helps Ensure Asteroid Deflector Hits Target, Predicts and Will Observe Impact Results

Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft at Didymos. (Credit: NASA)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Although the chance of an asteroid impacting Earth is small, even a relatively small asteroid of about 500 feet (about 150 meters) across carries enough energy to cause widespread damage around the impact site. NASA leads efforts in the U.S. and worldwide both to detect and track potentially hazardous asteroids and to study technologies to mitigate or avoid impacts on Earth. If an asteroid were discovered and determined to be on a collision course with Earth, one response could be to launch a “kinetic impactor” – a high-velocity spacecraft that would deflect the asteroid by ramming into it, altering the asteroid’s orbit slightly so that it misses Earth. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) will be the first mission to demonstrate asteroid deflection using a kinetic impactor. 

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NASA, SpaceX Launch DART: First Test Mission to Defend Planet Earth

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft onboard, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, Pacific time (Nov. 24 Eastern time) from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. DART is the world’s first full-scale planetary defense test, demonstrating one method of asteroid deflection technology. The mission was built and is managed by Johns Hopkins APL for NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART – built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – will impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.

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DART on Target – Six Questions with Mission Manager Clayton Kachele

DART mission (Credit: Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory)

Editor’s Note: DART is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg on Nov. 23 at 10:21 p.m. PST (Nov. 24 at 1:21 a.m. EST). NASA will stream the launch live on its website. 

By Wayne Smith
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

It sounds like a plot for a movie but protecting Earth from a potential impact by a hazardous asteroid is the objective of an upcoming NASA mission.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for mitigating such a threat. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft launch window opens Nov. 24. It will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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Rocket Lab Signs Exclusive License Agreement to Manufacture Space Radio Technology from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 18, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to commercialize near and deep space capable small spacecraft telemetry and control radio technology. The Frontier-S by Rocket Lab software defined radio (SDR) enables affordable communications and radio navigation for planetary and other missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), as well as communications and radio navigation for missions in GPS-denied environments.

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