NASA Invests in Private Lunar Landing Technologies

11 Août, 2018, 05:42 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • These companies focus on areas such as enabling efficient and safe transportation into and through space

The funded projects seem to include much investment on lunar landings, including $23m between Blue Origin and the United Launch Alliance to test using cryogenic liquid as a method of propulsion for a lunar lander system. Contracts for these Phase II projects - chosen as a result of competitive evaluations and based on selection criteria provided in the solicitation - last for 24 months, with a maximum funding of $750,000.

This project will advance Frontier's Deep Space Engine (DSE) by flight demonstration as part of the first Astrobotic Peregrine Lunar Lander mission planned for 2020.

One of NASA's longtime partners, United Launch Alliance, will get almost $14 million for a cryogenic upper stage system, which could be used in a lunar lander as well, and a system for mid-air retrieval on a vehicle returning to Earth from orbital velocity.

Maxar Technologies' (NYSE: MAXR) SSL subsidiary will advance development work on electric propulsion and in-space xenon transfer capabilities under two awards with a combined value of $4 million.

Paragon Space Development Corporation gets US$1.6 million for its CELSIUS system.

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NASA is looking to invest approximately $44 million in the technology.

CELSIUS is a system that can be installed on the surface of the cryogenic upper stage tank of a space launch vehicle to provide enhanced insulation capabilities and protection from meteoroids and debris.

Satellites use xenon gas to power their ion thrusters as they change course in their orbits. This will increase the efficiency and flexibility of future deep space missions. The project will demonstrate that in-space xenon transfer can be performed reliably in space.

Astrobotic Technology, Inc is the recipient of US$10 million to support a lunar technology demonstration mission for the Terrain Relative Navigation (TRN) sensor suite. Blue Origin received $13 million for a couple of deals - propulsion for landers on the Moon and sensors to help spacecraft land on any kind of surface on the Moon.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement, "These awards focus on technology collaborations with the commercial space sector that leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA's exploration goals". This will be integrated with altimetry sensors and subjected to flight tests at an altitude of 100 km (62 mi) aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard.

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