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Thread: NASA's moon exploration ambitions

  1. #121
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    [Ooops, did not know this had been posted, sorry!]

    A detail look at the proposed Lunar Gateway space station, with diagram & commentary.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3675/1

    Pow, right to the Moon
    by Eric R. Hedman, Monday, March 18, 2019

  2. #122
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    NASA to have laser retroreflector arrays on both the Israel and Indian missions to the moon.

    https://www.space.com/nasa-jumping-o...n-landers.html

    NASA science instruments are flying to the moon aboard two international lunar missions, according to agency officials.

    The Israeli lander Beresheet, due to touch down April 11, and the Indian mission Chandrayaan 2, scheduled to launch next month, are each carrying NASA-owned laser retroreflector arrays that allow scientists to make precise measurements of the distance to the moon. NASA confirmed the two instruments during the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held here.

    "We're trying to populate the entire surface with as many laser reflector arrays as we can possibly get there," Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said during a town hall event on March 18 during which she announced the Chandrayaan 2 partnership.
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  3. #123
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    NASA has set its sight on the lunar South Pole.

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Moo...Sites_999.html

    NASA is working right now to send American astronauts to the surface of the Moon in five years, and the agency has its sights set on a place no humans have ever gone before: the lunar South Pole.

    Water is a critical resource for long-term exploration, and that's one of the main reasons NASA will send astronauts to the Moon's South Pole by 2024. Water is a necessity for furthering human exploration because it could potentially be used for drinking, cooling equipment, breathing and making rocket fuel for missions farther into the solar system. The experience NASA gains on the Moon, including using lunar natural resources, will be used to help prepare the agency to send astronauts to Mars.

    "We know the South Pole region contains ice and may be rich in other resources based on our observations from orbit, but, otherwise, it's a completely unexplored world," said Steven Clarke, deputy associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The South Pole is far from the Apollo landing sites clustered around the equator, so it will offer us a new challenge and a new environment to explore as we build our capabilities to travel farther into space."

    The South Pole is also a good target for a future human landing because robotically, it's the most thoroughly investigated region on the Moon.
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  4. #124
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    "Astrobotic awarded contract to deliver 14 NASA payloads to the moon"

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Ast..._moon_999.html

    Astrobotic was selected by NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in July 2021. With this $79.5 million CLPS award, Astrobotic has now secured 28 payloads for lunar delivery as part of its first mission. Fifty years after Apollo 11, Pittsburgh's Astrobotic is returning America back to the Moon in partnership with NASA.

    This announcement of a firm fixed price contract to deliver NASA science, exploration, and technology demonstration payloads to the Moon is a culmination of Astrobotic's 12 year history as the pioneer in lunar delivery. Born and bred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one of America's advanced technology epicenters, Astrobotic is leading the world in lunar payload sales.
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  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    "Astrobotic awarded contract to deliver 14 NASA payloads to the moon"
    NASA also "selects Intuitive Machines for robotic return to the moon in 2021".

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/NAS..._2021_999.html

    Intuitive Machines will join NASA's new era of lunar exploration with a robotic landing on the Moon in 2021, under a contract award announced by NASA on Friday. The firm, fixed-price contract for no more than $77,247,500 with an additional incentive of $2,500,000 calls for Intuitive Machines to develop, launch and land its Nova-C spacecraft on the lunar surface with a payload of NASA and private experiments. The mission will be the first under NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. The award places Intuitive Machines on a path to become one of the first private U.S. companies to land a spacecraft on the Moon.
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  6. #126
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    One of the private USA moon landers will be made in India.

    https://qz.com/1633918/americas-firs...made-in-india/

    The first US lunar lander in the 21st century will be designed in India, the result of NASA’s new willingness to outsource production of its space vehicles.

    NASA says it will spend more than $250 million hiring private companies to transport scientific missions to the moon. These privately operated missions, part of the US space agency’s broader rush back to the moon, are designed to gather data about the lunar surface and pilot technologies for landing robotic explorers.

    Three companies—Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond—have been awarded contracts for missions into 2021. Orbit Beyond has the earliest target date for its mission, in September 2020.

    Orbit Beyond is unique among the nine other participants in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program in that it is a consortium. The design and construction of its lander will be performed by TeamIndus, an Indian company.
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  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    One of the private USA moon landers will be made in India.

    https://qz.com/1633918/americas-firs...made-in-india/
    I'm concerned that this may be pennywise and pound foolish, not the India project, but the whole mismatch of many contractors building many parts/projects for the ultimate goal.

  8. #128
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    Where is the money coming from to land on the Moon again? NASA itself, and it's gonna hurt.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019...-moon-program/

  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by bknight View Post
    I'm concerned that this may be pennywise and pound foolish, not the India project, but the whole mismatch of many contractors building many parts/projects for the ultimate goal.
    Apollo had an endless list of contractors building parts. This one is just for Saturn V; there are similar lists for the moon lander, rover, crawler, launch installation, tracking stations, experiments...

    https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4206/app-e.htm

    Of course, this list goes down to component level. But even when talking major elements of the mission, you'd have different companies for the rover, lander, launch vehicle, major parts like the engines, etc. Stage I, II, III of the Saturn V and its instrument ring were built by 4 different companies, all with their own subcontractors.

    I'm not saying this is the best approach (we have seen interfacing errors recently...), but it has worked in the past.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2019-Jun-05 at 08:32 AM.

  10. #130
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    "Scientists scramble to build payload for 2021 lunar landing"

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Sci...nding_999.html

    Scavenging spare parts and grabbing off-the-shelf hardware, University of California, Berkeley, space scientists are in a sprint to build scientific instruments that will land on the Moon in a mere two years.

    NASA announced on Monday that it has selected 12 scientific payloads to fly aboard three lunar landing missions within the next few years. One of them will be the Lunar Surface Electromagnetics Experiment (LuSEE), which will be built under the direction of Stuart Bale, a UC Berkeley professor of physics and a veteran of several past NASA missions, including the Parker Solar Probe that was launched last August.

    The science and technology experiments will explore the Moon's surface environment in advance of upcoming human missions and are part of NASA's collaboration with commercial partners to launch payloads - and, by 2024, humans - to the Moon.

    Bale and his colleagues at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory have less than $6 million to cover the costs, which means they will be co-opting spare parts originally built for the Parker Solar Probe and other spacecraft, including STEREO, which launched in 2006 and is still providing stereo views of the Sun, and the 2013 MAVEN, which is still orbiting Mars.
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  11. #131
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    NASA funded new camera system to offer high-resolution images, video of lunar landing.

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/New...nding_999.html

    A new spacecraft-mounted camera system funded by NASA is poised to return the first high-resolution video of a landing plume as it lands on the Moon.

    The Heimdall camera system project, headed by Planetary Science Institute Senior Scientist R. Aileen Yingst, consists of four color cameras and a DVR to store images until they can be uplinked to Earth.

    "The camera system will return the highest resolution images of the undisturbed lunar surface yet obtained, which is important for understanding regolith properties," Yingst said.

    "We will be able to essentially video the landing in high resolution for the first time, so we can understand how the plume behaves - how far it spreads, how long particles are lofted. This information is crucial for the safety of future landings.

    "Like its namesake in Norse mythology Heimdall the watchman of the gods, the Heimdall camera system has broad vision - it is designed to image a lunar landing site from above the horizon to the ground directly below the lander," said Yingst, Principal Investigator on the project.

    "Also like its namesake, it is a shapeshifter; the system has flexible mounting options adaptable to a range of payload or mission goals."
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  12. #132
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    Heimdall, they call it.

  13. #133
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    The Lunar Gateway to use an "angelic halo orbit".

    http://www.moondaily.com/reports/Ang...tpost_999.html

    Mission planners at NASA and ESA's Operations Centre (ESOC) have spent months debating the pros and cons of different orbits, and have now decided on the path of the lunar Gateway.

    Like the International Space Station, the Gateway will be a permanent and changeable human outpost. Instead of circling our planet however, it will orbit the Moon, acting as a base for astronauts and robots exploring the lunar surface.

    Like a mountain refuge, it will also provide shelter and a place to stock up on supplies for astronauts en route to more distant destinations, as well as providing a place to relay communications and a laboratory for scientific research.

    Mission analysis teams at ESOC are continuing to work closely with international partners to understand how this choice of orbit affects vital aspects of the mission - including landing, rendezvous with future spacecraft and contingency scenarios needed to keep people and infrastructure safe.

    The angelic halo orbit
    The Gateway, it has recently been decided, will follow a 'near-rectilinear halo orbit', or NRHO.

    Instead of orbiting around the Moon in a low lunar orbit like Apollo, the Gateway will follow a highly 'eccentric' path. At is closest, it will pass 3000 km from the lunar surface and at its furthest, 70 000 km. The orbit will actually rotate together with the moon, and as seen from the Earth will appear a little like a lunar halo.
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  14. #134
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    "NASA CALLS ON PRIVATE INDUSTRY TO SHIP CARGO TO MOON-BASED SPACE STATION"

    https://www.wmfe.org/nasa-calls-on-p...station/133057

    NASA is seeking out private companies to ship cargo to a new space station that as planned will orbit the moon.

    Gateway is the name of the space station that the space agency says will orbit the moon and serve as a last stop for astronauts headed for the lunar surface.

    NASA will need to get supplies to the station first and is calling on private companies for proposals. Kennedy Space Center will head the search for Gateway Logistics Services (LGS) awards. NASA’s Mark Wiese said the agency hopes the $7 billion set aside for the contracts will drive competition within the private space industry.

    “We set up this contract to enable multiple awards. We would love to have multiple providers, we want to drive that commercial competition. We have the ability within the contract to open it up even after we award and bring in more providers along the way.”

    Managers at Kennedy Space Center plan to announce the awards by the end of this year and wants to see the first shipments launch mid-2024. “Ideally, we expect everything to go from Florida, but we’re open to whatever solution industry brings forward that provides the best solution to the government,” said Wiese.
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  15. #135
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    I can see Cargo Dragon atop a Falcon Heavy. I hope that is do-able. LOP-G is supposed to have an arm of its own.

  16. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    "NASA CALLS ON PRIVATE INDUSTRY TO SHIP CARGO TO MOON-BASED SPACE STATION"

    https://www.wmfe.org/nasa-calls-on-p...station/133057
    The commercial companies are updating their mission plans for lunar landers and rovers.

    https://spacenews.com/commercial-lun...mission-plans/

    Days after Astrobotic announced its selection of United Launch Alliance to launch its first lunar lander, Japanese lunar lander company ispace says it is modifying its schedule for commercial lunar lander missions.

    Tokyo-based ispace said Aug. 22 that it is dropping plans to do an initial orbital mission, which was to launch in 2020 as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9. Instead, its first mission will be the Hakuto-R lander, scheduled to launch in 2021, with a second lander mission, equipped with a rover, to follow in 2023. Both lander missions will launch as Falcon 9 secondary payloads.

    In a statement, ispace said that “dramatic market acceleration and increasing demand for lunar exploration around the world” led it to push ahead directly to a lander mission, noting that the earlier orbiter mission was solely intended to be a technology demonstration, with no commercial payloads.
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  17. #137
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    "JAXA to develop spacecraft to resupply lunar orbiting station"

    http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201908260031.html

    In a vital lifeline for a next-generation lunar orbiting space station, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plans to develop a larger unmanned transport spacecraft to ferry supplies.

    For the development, the science ministry will earmark about 10.8 billion yen ($102 million) in its budget request for fiscal 2020, sources said.

    The new spacecraft is expected to have a larger transport capacity than the unmanned supply ship, H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), also called Kounotori (stork), which is currently transporting goods to the International Space Station (ISS).

    JAXA is aiming to conduct the first flight of the new spacecraft in fiscal 2021.
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