WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected three companies to further advance work on deployable solar array systems that will help power the agency’s human and robotic exploration of the Moon under Artemis.
Through Artemis missions, NASA will return humans to the Moon and establish a long-term presence near the lunar South Pole. A reliable, sustainable power source is required to support lunar habitats, rovers, and even construction systems for future robotic and crewed missions. To help provide this power, NASA is supporting development of vertical solar arrays that can autonomously deploy up to 32 feet high and retract for relocation if necessary.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are working together to advance space nuclear technologies. The agencies have selected three design concept proposals for a fission surface power system design that could be ready to launch by the end of the decade for a demonstration on the Moon. This technology would benefit future exploration under the Artemis umbrella.
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — NASA innovators recently developed a new metal alloy using a 3D printing process that dramatically improves the strength and durability of the components and parts used in aviation and space exploration, resulting in better and longer-lasting performance.
EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — David McBride, director of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, announced plans to retire on June 30 after 35 years of service to the agency. He began his career at NASA as an intern.
During McBride’s tenure as director, the center completed the flight evaluation of the X-48B/C hybrid wing body experimental aircraft and demonstrated the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system.
“David’s contributions in aviation, science, and exploration have strengthened our agency’s missions and improved the lives of people throughout our country — and will for generations to come,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Individuals at the beginning of their career at NASA – and members of the Artemis Generation who dream of one day working here – will be inspired by David, knowing their work can also lead to a lifetime of service to this storied agency. I wish him and his family all the best in his retirement.”
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — The path to the Moon, Mars, and beyond will require a fleet of spacecraft in many different shapes and sizes, including everything from massive rockets that produce millions of pounds of thrust to pioneering small electric propulsion thrusters that fit in the palm of your hand.
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — NASA selected six American satellite communications (SATCOM) providers on April 20 to begin developing and demonstrating near-Earth space communication services that may support future agency missions.
For more than a year, the agency has been evaluating the feasibility of employing commercial SATCOM networks for near-Earth operations as it works to decommission its near-Earth satellite fleet. This approach would allow NASA to focus more time and resources on its deep space exploration and science missions.
With this major milestone complete, the Structural Test Model for the largest lunar lander since the Apollo Lunar Module is now headed for environmental testing.
PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic’s second lunar lander mission, Griffin Mission One (GM1), has completed a major milestone toward flight by completing its Griffin Structural Test Model (STM). This full-scale model will undergo a series of rigorous tests to inform the final flight build of the Griffin lunar lander, scheduled to begin this year.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program has awarded $15 million to U.S. small businesses and research institutions to continue developing technologies in areas ranging from aeronautics to science and space exploration.
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.
Engineers are developing the crucial hardware needed for a series of daring space missions that will be carried out in the coming decade.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Testing has already begun on what would be the most sophisticated endeavor ever attempted at the Red Planet: bringing rock and sediment samples from Mars to Earth for closer study.
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.
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.
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.
CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — Exploration of the Moon and Mars requires the power of human imagination and vision. It also takes the power of electricity to bring science and technology to life when astronauts land and stay on the surface.