Artemis Program News
A chronology of news about the Artemis Program
US senator Maria Cantwell has added an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act that could impose significant restrictions on NASA and its plans to return to the Moon. The amendment was spurred by NASA's decision in April to select SpaceX as its sole provider of a human landing system for the Artemis Program. This legislation comes as Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos have been urging Congress to add $10 billion to NASA's budget - enough money to fully fund the development of a second Human Landing System.
Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, a former astronaut and longtime proponent of Florida's role in the spaceflight industry, will become NASA's next associate administrator. Cabana will fill the agency's No. 3 role starting Monday, May 17. He will replace Steve Jurczyk, who has served - including as acting administrator after Jim Bridenstine's departure in January - for more than 30 years.
NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program is looking at a wide range of forecasts for when they can complete testing necessary to be ready to launch Artemis 1.
Approximately six months of work is anticipated to finish assembly and complete a long series of tests and checkouts of SLS and the Orion spacecraft it will send to the Moon, but current forecasts of this first-time integration work estimate closer to ten months to complete the necessary operations. After the vehicle is put together, weeks and weeks of testing to make sure SLS and Orion are properly talking to each other, as well as the EGS ground infrastructure, will follow.
Sen. Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator on May 3, 2021, tasked with carrying out the Biden-Harris administration's vision for the agency.
NASA is taking steps to establish a regular cadence of crewed missions to the surface of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. The agency recently made a selection for a crewed demonstration to land the next American astronauts on the lunar surface, and is now looking to industry again, this time for long-term lunar landing services for crews beginning in the late 2020s.
In a Request for Information (RFI) issued April 28, NASA asked U.S. companies to indicate their interest in providing Artemis astronaut transit services from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon. In particular, the agency is seeking input on factors that would motivate them to bid on a future Lunar Exploration Transportation Services (LETS) contract. NASA will use LETS to buy routine astronaut transportation services throughout the Artemis program.
Although NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to work on a Starship-based lunar landing system two weeks ago, both companies that lost out on the deal have filed protests with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Now NASA says that while the challenges from Dynetics and Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin are reviewed, SpaceX will have to halt any work it's doing.
The final piece of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will send NASA's Artemis I mission to the Moon has arrived at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The SLS Program delivered the core stage rocket to the center's Launch Complex 39 turn basin wharf after completing a successful series of Green Run tests at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The 212-foot-tall core stage, which is the largest rocket stage NASA has ever built, completed its voyage aboard the agency's Pegasus barge on April 27. After a 900-mile journey, teams aboard the barge, which was modified to support SLS's weight and length, safely piloted the specialized self-sustaining vessel to the spaceport.
"With the delivery of the SLS core stage for Artemis I, we have all the parts of the rocket at Kennedy for the first Artemis mission," said John Honeycutt, the SLS program manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, "Our team looks forward to working with the Exploration Ground Systems team as all these huge pieces come together to build America's Moon rocket".
Over a week ago, NASA awarded Elon Musk's SpaceX a $2.9 billion contract to build a lunar lander for its upcoming Artemis Moon project. In deciding on SpaceX, NASA passed over defense contractor Dynetics and Blue Origin. The latter is now challenging the decision. In a protest filed with the federal Government Accountability Office (via The New York Times), Jeff's Bezos' rocket company claims NASA improperly awarded the contract to its rival.
"NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute. In NASA's own words, it has made a 'high risk' selection," a spokesperson for Blue Origin told Engadget. "Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America's return to the Moon."
Long-time Democratic space politician Bill Nelson expressed support for the Artemis program during a televised three-hour hearing considering his nomination as NASA administrator Wednesday (April 21). The 78-year-old Nelson - who made space issues a cornerstone issue in his decades representing Florida in the House and Senate - said NASA is still technically committed to a 2024 deadline for landing people on the moon under the Artemis program, albeit "with the sobering reality that space is hard." He also noted that he was not yet allowed to talk to the agency in detail about that deadline, given that his nomination is still pending.
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.
"I think that can be done," Musk said Friday, speaking after SpaceX launched the Crew-2 mission to orbit for a trip to the International Space Station."We're going to aim for sooner than that, but I think this is actually doable," he added. "We're building up a lot of rockets, and probably [will] smash a bunch of them, but I think it will happen."
Technicians and engineers continue to make progress manufacturing core stages that will help power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for its second and third flights. NASA and Boeing, the lead contractor for the core stage, are in the process of conducting one of the biggest Artemis II milestones: assembling the top half of the core stage.
IV&V's Artemis program is continuing to put in efforts that accomplish what the mission needs today and what it will lead to in days and years to come, according to IV&V project leadership. "NASA will gain critical knowledge and experience from Moon exploration activities which will enable future exploration to Mars or beyond," he said. "When doing things that have never been done before with humans in such harsh and different environments, you must explore and learn, adjust and advance, so you can explore further the next time".
Crews at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, worked April 19-20 to remove the first flight core stage of the agency's Space Launch System rocket from the B-2 Test Stand in preparation for its transport to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Operations required crews to lift the core stage from its vertical placement in the stand and lower it to a horizontal position on the B-2 Test Stand tarmac. The stage now will be loaded on NASA's Pegasus barge for transport to Kennedy, where it will be prepared for launch of the Artemis I mission. Removal of the largest rocket stage ever built by NASA followed completion of a series of eight Green Run tests over the past year.
Investing in Starship will help NASA return to the Moon, but it will also do something more consequential. Starship is a Mars ship. By choosing Starship for the Moon, NASA is investing in the Starship program itself, providing SpaceX with a cash infusion for the same technology and systems it needs to get to the Red Planet'a true 'Moon-to-Mars' strategy if there ever was one.
In a request for information (RFI) published April 14, NASA revealed that it is looking for feedback from the space sector on its newly updated strategy to work with commercial partners in space. In this new strategy, NASA is looking to collaborate more with commercial partners in developing, building and maintaining technology for spacewalks, or extravehicular activities (EVAs), including spacesuits, the agency said in a statement.
After NASA taps SpaceX's Starship for first Artemis landings, agency looks to on-ramp future vehicles[NASAspaceflight.com - April 20, 2021]
In contrast to NASA's stated wish for multiple Human Landing Systems, only one design was selected for an initial uncrewed demonstration and the first crewed landing, due to significant budget constraints. The offerings from Blue Origin, Dynetics, and other companies not previously studied for HLS, may thus continue development in hopes of being on-ramped for future recurring missions to the surface of the moon.
NASA has selected SpaceX to continue development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon. Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface.
The agency's powerful Space Launch System rocket will launch four astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft for their multi-day journey to lunar orbit. There, two crew members will transfer to the SpaceX human landing system (HLS) for the final leg of their journey to the surface of the Moon. After approximately a week exploring the surface, they will board the lander for their short trip back to orbit where they will return to Orion and their colleagues before heading back to Earth.
The firm-fixed price, milestone-based contract total award value is $2.89 billion.
"With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women's equality and long-term deep space exploration," said Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate. "This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars."
Today, NASA announced they have selected Starship to land the first astronauts on the lunar surface since the Apollo program. We are humbled to help NASA usher in a new era of human space exploration.
NASA's Gateway lunar outpost will address one of the biggest concerns for space travel beyond Earth's orbit by measuring radiation levels within the spacecraft with a sophisticated collection of radiation detectors.
When NASA's Orion spacecraft is nearing its return to Earth after its Artemis I mission to the Moon, it will attempt the first skip entry for a human spacecraft - a maneuver designed to pinpoint its landing spot in the Pacific Ocean. During this skip entry, Orion will dip into the upper part of Earth's atmosphere and use that atmosphere, along with the lift of the capsule, to skip back out of the atmosphere, then reenter for final descent under parachutes and splashdown. It's a little like skipping a rock across the water in a river or lake.
The Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) were adapted largely as-is to the higher SLS operating requirements. SLS is an expendable vehicle and new engine builds will be needed by the program, first as spares and then for flight beginning with the fifth SLS launch.
The new spacecraft command and control system (SCCS) is now certified for use on Artemis I. The system is the electronic hub where information traveling to and from the SLS core stage, the rocket's Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS), Orion, ground systems, and the operators inside the firing room intersect. During loading and launch, the software will process up to 575,000 changes per second. All this information is integrated into the displays shown on consoles throughout Firing Room 1 and Firing Room 2 inside Kennedy's Launch Control Center, enabling Operators to make informed decisions on how to continue the activity in progress.
The rocket engine with one of the most storied histories in spaceflight, the RS-25, is returning to space for a second act - this time to send humans on the Artemis missions to explore the Moon..
Space communications and navigation engineers at NASA are evaluating the navigation needs for the Artemis program, including identifying the precision navigation capabilities needed to establish the first sustained presence on the lunar surface.
Once the troublesome element of the Constellation (now Artemis) Program, three Orion spacecraft are in various stages of preparation for flight, two of which now already reside at their Kennedy Space Center launch site. With the Artemis 3 Orion - set to depart Earth with the crew that will step foot on the surface of the Moon - now being constructed at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF), Orion's multi-billion dollar journey to transporting humans into deep space is back on track.
With the Biden administration having endorsed the Trump-era Artemis program, it looks like two credible, rival return-to-the-moon programs are now ongoing. Since one of those programs is run by two authoritarian nations and the other is led by NASA and consists of what many would consider the civilized world, the very definition of a race to the moon has developed, without fanfare, without brave speeches throwing down gauntlets. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Technicians at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, complete the weld to join the two major parts of the launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The adapter, a cone-shaped piece of hardware that connects the rocket's upper and lower stages, will fly on Artemis II, the first crewed mission of NASA's Artemis program.
Success! Engines fired for 499.6 seconds.
Next stop... the Moon.
Artemis is part of the steppingstone approach that will build on research conducted in ground analogs and on the International Space Station to help NASA identify ways to keep astronauts safe, healthy, and productive during future missions to Mars.
A mockup analog of the Griffin lander that will bring NASA's water-hunting Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the surface of the Moon recently arrived at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
To prepare for crucial docking and undocking operations in lunar orbit, astronauts and Orion engineers have begun the first series of human-in-the-loop testing at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
NASA is targeting Thursday, March 18 for the second hot fire of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's core stage at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
NASA's water-hunting lunar robot now has a workspace prepped and ready at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will be built for its upcoming mission to the Moon. The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, has a new 1,000-plus square-foot clean room, called the Surface Segment Integration and Test Facility, where engineers will assemble and outfit the rover.
NASA's new water-hunting mission to the Moon, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, has received agency-level approval to move from formulation into implementation of the final design of the rover. This puts the mission one step closer to launching to the Moon's South Pole in late 2023.
NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency's Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), the foundational elements of the Gateway. As the first long-term orbiting outpost around the Moon, the Gateway is critical to supporting sustainable astronauts missions under the agency's Artemis program.
NASA is working on various science instruments and technology experiments from the agency that will operate on the Moon once American companies on Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts deliver them to the lunar surface. Through CLPS flights, NASA is buying a complete commercial robotic lunar delivery service and does not provide launch services, own the lander or lead landing operations.
Scientists and engineers are helping NASA determine the precise location of the Artemis Base Camp concept. Among the many things NASA must take into account in choosing a specific location are two key features: The site must bask in near continuous sunlight to power the base and moderate extreme temperature swings, and it must offer easy access to areas of complete darkness that hold water ice.
The engines shut-down after 63-seconds during the gimbal test sequence of the Green Run Hot Fire Test.
NASA statement released on Jan 19:
"During gimballing, the hydraulic system associated with the core stage's power unit for Engine 2, also known as engine E2056, exceeded the pre-set test limits that had been established. As they were programmed to do, the flight computers automatically ended the test. The specific logic that stopped the test is unique to the ground test when the core stage is mounted in the B-2 test stand at Stennis. If this scenario occurred during a flight, the rocket would have continued to fly using the remaining CAPUs to power the thrust vector control systems for the engines."
Read the full NASA statement
NASA fired up the core stage of its massive new Space Launch System (SLS) on Saturday (Jan. 16) in a critical test that ended prematurely when the booster's engines shut down earlier than planned. "Not everything went according to script today," NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said late Saturday after the test. "But we got a lot of great data, a lot of great information."
The Orion spacecraft for NASA's Artemis I mission is taking one more step closer to its flight to the Moon. On Jan. 14, the spacecraft was lifted out of the stand in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where engineers have meticulously outfitted it with thousands of components and tested its systems and subsystems to ensure it can accomplish its mission. With assembly complete, teams are moving it to its next facility for fueling and officially transferring the spacecraft to NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) team responsible for processing Orion for its launch later this year.
NASA has selected an initial team of astronauts - the Artemis Team - to help pave the way for our next human missions on and around the Moon. The Artemis program includes sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface. Let's meet the team!
Nasa has announced 18 astronauts who will travel to the Moon under the agency's Artemis program.
Vice President Mike Pence finished his term leading the National Space Council at the council's eighth meeting, held today (Dec. 9) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, by introducing 18 NASA astronauts who make up the heart of the Artemis crews - assuming the incoming administration led by President-elect Joe Biden builds on NASA's existing Artemis program.
The Blue Origin-led National Team submitted its Option A proposal to land the first woman and next man on the Moon in partnership with NASA. Blue Origin leads the HLS National Team, which includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper. Together, these partners guided Apollo, established routine orbit cargo transfer, developed today's only crewed lunar spaceship, and pioneered planetary precision landing with liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen vehicles.
[ Youtube: blueoriginchannel]
President Donald Trump released a new national space policy Wednesday (Dec. 9), laying out the fundamental principles of, and chief priorities for, the United States' diverse space activities going forward.
NASA powered up the core stage of its new Space Launch System on Saturday (Dec. 5), kicking off the penultimate "green run" test of its next-generation megarocket, according to agency officials.
NASA Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) and prime test and operations contractor (TOSC) Jacobs started assembling the Artemis 1 vehicle on its Mobile Launcher this week in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.
Eight rocket motor segments for the first flight of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) are lined up in preparation for stacking at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Members of the media are invited to capture images of the Space Launch System (SLS) solid rocket boosters as motor segments are transported, processed and stacked in preparation for the Artemis I launch in 2021.
Engineers from NASA's Exploration Ground Systems and contractor Jacobs recently took their seats at consoles in Kennedy's Firing Room 1. During a simulated launch of Artemis I, they tackled any challenges that arose from the tanking process and monitored the system's performance.
The Launch Ascent and Vehicle Aerodynamics, or LAVA, team at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, uses computer simulations to accurately understand how liquid and gases flowing during launch can cause various kinds of waves.
For Artemis astronauts traveling on missions to the Moon, two space weather instrument suites, NASA's HERMES and ESA's ERSA, will provide an early forecast. Weather in this case means energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields hurtling through the solar system.
NASA has said it will be "hard-pressed to land astronauts on the moon by the end of 2024". The assessment by the agency's office of inspector general comes in a report dated 12 November and titled 2020 Report on Nasa's Top Management and Performance Challenges.
Little is known of what Biden believes about NASA and its role in promoting space exploration. Because the United States is in for a period of divided government, Biden will not be able to make huge changes at NASA because such will have to pass muster in the Republican Senate. He will not be able to cancel the Artemis program, even if he wants to. Artemis enjoys healthy support on both sides of the aisle.
Ukraine is the ninth country that has signed the NASA Artemis Accords, the Ukrainian national space agency announced on its website, without giving further details.
The Artemis Accords - NASA guidelines supposedly designed to regulate global cooperation on the moon - may serve to circumvent preexisting international treaties.
A Senate appropriations bill would provide NASA with only a small fraction of the funding it requested for lunar lander development, putting any chance of returning humans to the moon by 2024 in jeopardy.
Donald Trump set bold goals for space exploration during his time in office - from crewed missions to the Moon and Mars to a Space Force. By contrast, his successor Joe Biden has been relatively quiet on space policy. So how is space exploration likely to change going forward.
Joe Biden just announced his NASA transition team. Here's what space policy might look like under the new administration.[BusinessInsider.com.au, AU - November 11, 2020]
Ellen Stofan, a former NASA chief scientist, will chair the team. Biden will likely push back the timeline of NASA's Artemis moon mission, extend funding for the International Space Station, and direct more resources back to climate science.
NASA is going to get some funding for landers, just not the full amount it asked for
Bridenstine said in an interview with Aviation Week that the Biden administration would need a NASA chief who was "trusted" by the incoming president, adding that he was not that person.
With five robotic flights to the Moon already booked through 2023, and a sixth award expected soon, NASA is seeking suites of new science investigations and technology experiments for future commercial lunar deliveries as part of the Artemis program.
The first step to ensuring property rights in outer space. With the release of the full text, space enthusiasts have good reason for optimism. The Artemis Accords are an ambitious step along the path to space exploration and development. They have major implications for the legal rules governing the use and transfer of celestial resources.
The agency has released an Announcement for Proposals calling for submissions of potential partnerships to visually bring the public along for the ride in new ways, starting as early as a trip around the Moon with astronauts on the Artemis II mission, targeted for 2023. Proposals are due by Dec. 11, 2020.
After the signature of eight countries to the Artemis Accords, the position of the European Space Agency ESA was discussed a lot. SpaceWatch.Global Editor-in-Chief Markus Payer used the opportunity to talk with Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl is Vice Chair of the European Coordination Committee for the ISS Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA-CC)
NASA's new rocket would be the most powerful ever. But it's the software that has some officials worried.[WashingtonPost.com - October 31, 2020]
At an ASAP meeting last month, Paul Hill, a member of the panel and a former flight and mission operations director at the agency, said the "panel has great concern about the end-to-end integrated test capability and plans, especially for flight software."
Technicians with the lead contractor for Orion, Lockheed Martin, adhered the NASA insignia, known as the 'meatball' and an American Flag to the back shell of the spacecraft's crew module for Artemis I. Final assemblies are well underway for Orion as teams progress toward next year's launch.
To give astronauts a place to live and work on the Moon, the agency's Artemis Base Camp concept includes a modern lunar cabin, a rover and even a mobile home. Early missions will include short surface stays, but as the base camp evolves, the goal is to allow crew to stay at the lunar surface for up to two months at a time.
NASA is choosing between human missions to the moon and a robotic mission to Jupiter's icy moon Europa as the agency manages its limited supply of megarockets in the coming years.
NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) have finalized an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway. This agreement is an important element in a broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration and to demonstrate technologies necessary for a future human mission to Mars. The agreement... marks NASA's first formal commitment to launch international crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASA's Artemis missions.
NASA is progressing through the Green Run test series for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket at the agency's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and has completed six of the eight tests.
A collaborative agreement was finalized between NASA and the European Space Agency on Tuesday, and the two agencies will work together on the Artemis Gateway lunar outpost. This is also NASA's first formal agreement to launch international crew members to the moon during the Artemis missions, according to the agency.
While the amount of water detected by the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is small, the discovery will add impetus to the agency's plans to launch rovers and astronauts to the moon under the agency's Artemis program. The program's goal, in part, is to scout out the availability of ice in shadowed craters near the moon's south pole to support a sustained human presence on the lunar surface before eventual flights to Mars.
NASA's mobile launcher that will carry the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I is on the road again. The Exploration Ground Systems and Jacobs teams rolled the mobile launcher, atop crawler-transporter 2, out of the Vehicle Assembly Building for its slow trek to Launch Pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 20.
The head of the Russian space agency said this week that the the Gateway mini-space station NASA plans to build around the moon is "too U.S.-centric" and added that Russia unlikely to significantly contribute to the project.
The Artemis I mission will be an uncrewed flight test of the Orion spacecraft that places a human-rated crew vehicle in lunar orbit for the first time since the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 70s. The mission will showcase the capabilities of both Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS).Artemis I will demonstrate NASA's networks' comprehensive services for journeys to lunar orbit. The mission requires all three of NASA's space communications and navigation networks to work in tandem, providing different communications and tracking service levels as Orion leaves Earth, orbits the Moon, and returns safely home.
Engineers at NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, completed a simulated launch countdown sequence on Oct. 5 for the sixth test of the eight-part core stage Green Run test series for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
Following a series of critical contract awards and hardware milestones, NASA has shared an update on its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the Moon in 2024. (Link: https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/artemis_plan-20200921.pdf)
Technicians with NASA's Exploration Ground Systems rehearse booster stacking operations inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, Sept.14, in preparation for the Artemis I launch.
NASA has selected Catherine Koerner as manager of the agency's Orion Program. In this role, she will be responsible for the development and operations of NASA's newest spacecraft.
Teams from NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) and prime contractor Northrop Grumman successfully completed the Flight Support Booster-1 (FSB-1) ground test at Northrop Grumman's test facility in Promontory, Utah.
NASA's new moon rocket finished a full-scale flight support booster (FSB) test Wednesday (Sept. 2) as the agency gets its Space Launch System (SLS) ready to fly astronauts one day.
SpaceX has secured a contract to act as the launch partner for Masten Space Systems, one of the companies awarded a NASA launch contract under that agency's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Masten's first lunar mission is set to take pace 2022 if all goes to plan, and will take the company's XL-1 lunar lander to the south pole of the Moon with NASA payloads including scientific experimentation instruments on board, as well as cargo from commercial passengers.
Epps is one of 16 active female astronauts who may one day land on the moon with NASA's Artemis program.
The Blue Origin National Team of four US aerospace companies has delivered a full-scale engineering mockup of their proposed human lunar lander. The Artemis Human Landing System (HLS) lander has been set up in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF), NASA Johnson Space Center's (JSC) iconic Building 9, said Blue Origin in an Aug. 20 statement.
Despite a weather-related pause in testing work, NASA still hopes to complete the Green Run test of the Space Launch System core stage in October, keeping its first launch on track for late next year.
The competition to build the next spacecraft to deliver astronauts to the moon is getting serious. Jeff Bezos' rocket company Blue Origin, on Thursday delivered a 40-foot tall mock-up lander to the space agency for testing.
A private team led by Jeff Bezos' spaceflight company Blue Origin has delivered a mock-up of its crewed moon lander to NASA for testing.
NASA's Artemis program is aiming for the Moon, yet the space between us is ripe with possibilities for helping mature the technologies we will need to get there, stay there, and venture beyond to Mars.
As NASA's Orion spacecraft approaches the Moon on the Artemis III mission to put the first woman and next man on the lunar surface, the crew will get a glimpse through the spacecraft's windows.
Inside the Launch Control Center's Firing Room 1 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, members of the Artemis I launch team rehearse the procedures for fueling the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with super cold propellants, or cryogenics, on Aug. 18, 2020.
NASA has invited applications from university-level engineering students to participate in developing a method to harvest water on the Moon and Mars.
This does not bode well for keeping to the 2024 landing goal.
Altius Space Machines, Inc. (Altius), was selected as a subcontractor to Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, to support the development of a human landing system for NASA's Artemis program.
A new study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, shows that exhaust from a mid-sized lunar lander can quickly spread around the Moon and potentially contaminate scientifically vital ices at the lunar poles.
Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are working to install an adapter that will connect the Orion spacecraft to its rocket for the Artemis I mission around the Moon.
Voyager Subsidiary, Altius Space Machines, Inc. to support on-orbit servicing for the Dynetics Human Landing System[PRnewswire - August 12, 2020]
Altius' decade of space robotics expertise to propel development of new human landing system for NASA's Artemis Program.
Sierra Nevada Corp.is continuing to advance its development of the company's Large Inflatable Fabric Environment (LIFE) Habitat under Phase 3 of NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Appendix A habitat program. In Phase 3, NASA has asked companies to focus on habitat design concepts that could be used on the lunar surface or as a Mars transportation habitat to test at the lunar Gateway.
The cone-shaped interstage connector was moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building, where NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program and prime Test and Operations Support Contractor - Jacobs - will now perform through fit checks while waiting for the SLS Core Stage to finish its Green Run test campaign at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
It just launched a rover to Mars and returned astronauts from the space station, but Congress recently said no to its latest budget request.
Call it a triumph of NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's relentless bipartisan approach to space policy.
As a precursor for Gateway, a Moon-orbiting outpost that is part of NASA's Artemis program, CAPSTONE will help reduce risk for future spacecraft by validating innovative navigation technologies and verifying the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit.
The launch vehicle stage adapter made its way to Kennedy aboard NASA's Pegasus barge this week and was transported on Thursday into the Vehicle Assembly Building.
The second to last piece of hardware for the Artemis I test flight around the Moon has arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The launch vehicle stage adapter (LVSA) connects the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket to the upper stage, called the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, and also helps protect the RL10 engine housed in the upper stage which will power the Orion spacecraft on its journey to the Moon.
While the first flight LVSA unit was placed on NASA's Pegasus barge and towed through U.S. waterways to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, work to weld the second LVSA structure is well underway at MSFC. Plans are to have the second unit ready for the Artemis 2 vehicle by mid-2022 and NASA has also placed orders for the long-lead raw materials necessary to build fabrication of a third LVSA.
The House Appropriations Committee released the CJS spending bill on July 07, which provides $22.6 billion for NASA. "These programs are being rushed to meet a politically motivated timeline to again place humans on the Moon's lunar surface in a little over four years," the report accompanying the spending bill said of NASA's exploration programs.
The Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be in favour of continuing to support the NASA Artemis program. An 80-page draft of the Democratic Party's 2020 platform was distributed to party officials for review this week. Although it does not outline an exhaustive proposed space policy, it does appear to suggest a Biden-led government would continue to support NASA's push to return US astronauts to the lunar surface.
"Scientific explorers and commercial pioneers need to get to the moon with diverse people, practices, and profit motivations.," argues Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmitt.
The spacecraft slated to transport astronauts to the moon for NASA's Artemis program is still mired in cost overruns and delays, the agency's inspector general said last week, yet its prime contractor has received "overly generous" award fees totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Japan provides a few major advantages in helping the US get back to the moon. In return, it will get its own chance to set foot on the lunar surface.
Russia's space agency has publicly stated it has no interest in participating in NASA's Artemis missions. Roscosmos is instead siding with China, partnering up for future space exploration efforts.
The adapter is the cone shaped piece that connects the rocket's core stage and interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS). Pegasus will transport the flight hardware to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where it will be integrated with other parts of the rocket in preparation for launch.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday he still expected support from Russia's space corporation in its Artemis moon program despite Moscow's space chief slamming the U.S.-led lunar effort.
NASA is looking for ways to leverage lunar resources to meet their astronauts' needs in a process known as In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and has selected 10 proposals through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to developed ISRU-related technologies.
NASA and Japan signed a Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent (JEDI) on July 9. The JEDI describes the plans for co-operation regarding the International Space Station and NASA's Artemis program, including Japanese contributions to Gateway and lunar surface exploration.
"We're trying to balance the interests of the science community, the interest of the human exploration community and the interest of the commercial community."
Prime test and operations contractor Jacobs will perform the final checkout and integration of all flight hardware for Nasa's Artemis I mission around the Moon.
NASA has selected four U.S. small businesses to mature a range of technologies for sustainable exploration of the Moon under the Artemis program.
Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida recently finished meticulously applying more than 180 blocks of ablative material to the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft set to carry astronauts around the Moon on Artemis II.
The House Appropriations Committee would like to keep NASA's budget at $22.63 billion, which matches the agency's current budget but is significantly less than the $25.2 billion proposed by President Donald Trump for fiscal year 2021.
A second Mobile Launcher (ML-2) for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) is heading into its construction phase as Ground Support Equipment begins to arrive at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
Science Focus Podcast and full transcript.
NASA has released a video showcasing its own destruction of the SLS rocket. By intentionally pushing the rocket past its designed limits for strength, the space agency gets a better idea of just how durable it truly is.
Technicians at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have moved panels for the Artemis II Orion stage adapter to a large robotic, welding machine. Three panels were built by AMRO Fabricating Corp. in California and shipped to Marshall where engineers and technicians are joining them using a sophisticated friction-stir welding process to form the Orion stage adapter.
The flight computers and avionics of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's core stage for the Artemis I mission were powered on and have completed a thorough systems checkout in the second of eight tests in the Green Run test series at NASA's Stennis Space Center.
Last fall, NASA unveiled the new suits that Artemis astronauts will wear when they return to the Moon in 2024. NASA's new xEMU is the first ground-up suit made for exploring the lunar landscape, and it's design is getting an assist from artificial intelligence.
NASA has taken the next steps toward building Space Launch System (SLS) solid rocket boosters to support as many as six additional flights, for a total of up to nine Artemis missions.
Three companies are competing to build NASA's next-gen lunar lander.
The Canadian Space Agency who have provided robotic arms for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station, will now build the next-generation of robotic systems for going to the Moon, called Canadarm3.
Engineers completed testing on a duplicate of Orion called the Structural Test Article (STA), needed to verify the spacecraft is ready for Artemis I - its first uncrewed test flight..
On June 24, 2020, engineers completed the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket's structural testing campaign for the Artemis lunar missions by testing the liquid oxygen structural test article to find its point of failure.
Given the progress being made in the private sector, some question why commercial systems now being deployed in low Earth orbit should not be used for deep space, and some ask why the national systems are needed at all. The answers are clear: One technical, the other geopolitical.
We ask Gary Martin, Vice President for North American operations for the International Space University, about how private enterprise is changing space exploration.
NASA is studying the addition of an Orion rendezvous demonstration to the Artemis 2 test flight to reduce overall mission risks to the subsequent Artemis 3 lunar landing from first-time operations.
A Cool Science Radio interview with Dr. Jacob Bleacher, who is the Chief Exploration Scientist of Advanced Exploration Systems, a division of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
NASA's Tournament Labs and Human Landing System Program has partnered with a Kickstarter-like platform called HeroX to sponsor a competition to design a space toilet that will be used on the moon.
Last year, NASA set itself an ambitious goal: Send astronauts to walk on the moon in 2024. Now, the agency is busy planning what astronauts will do during those excursions. In a series of presentations made last month, NASA personnel described some of the details of the agency's vision for a new era of moonwalks.
Over the next few years, NASA will dispatch an array of spacecraft to quench its thirst for more water-ice data, and to sustain its quest for an Artemis Base Camp to support wide-ranging human lunar exploration.
NASA's Space Launch System Program is concluding its structural qualification test series with one upcoming final test that will push the design for the rocket's liquid oxygen tank to its limits at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Fueled segments of the solid rocket boosters that will lift off on the first flight of NASA's Space Launch System have arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but officials will hold off on stacking the boosters until the SLS core stage completes a crucial test-firing later this year.
NASA's selection of Kathy Lueders to become the new associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate has been met with universal praise. Even former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who is on record as wanting to cancel the Artemis return to the moon program, was quite effusive.
NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) Program is concluding its structural qualification test series with one upcoming final test that will push the design for the rocket's liquid oxygen tank to its limits at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Two university teams have taken top honors in NASA's 2020 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition, which culminated in a virtual forum June 16-18.
NASA's Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) program is stepping into the launch processing flow for the Artemis 1 mission after taking delivery of Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) hardware for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will start the uncrewed lunar orbit mission next year.
"We're going to try, right?" Kathy Lueders, NASA's newly appointed head of human spaceflight operations, said Thursday that without a crystal ball, she could not give a yes-or-no answer when asked whether she believes NASA can put astronauts back on the moon by the end of 2024 as called for by the Trump administration.
NASA's massive SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft recently arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida after a 10-day, cross-country journey from Northrop Grumman's facility in Promontory, Utah. And it arrived in style on the storied NASA Railroad.
The rocket booster segments that will help power NASA's first Artemis flight test mission around the Moon arrived at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday for launch preparations.
Before NASA gets around to landing the first woman on the moon, it has partnered up with several commercial companies to send rovers and probes to the lunar surface. One of them is 2023 mission to deliver NASA's water-hunting rover called VIPER.
NASA's return to the moon has to go through Utah first, where NASA contractor Northrop Grumman has been working on the two solid rocket boosters to be paired with the core stage of the SLS. Specialized transports will move each of 10 solid rocket motor segments from the test facility in Promontory, Utah, before a cross-country journey by train to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Former high-ranking NASA official Doug Loverro, is being investigated over allegedly giving improper guidance to Boeing Co. in relation to an agency competition for one of NASA's moon landing contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported.
NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman $187 million to design the habitat module for the space agency's lunar Gateway, a planned moon-orbiting space station for astronauts. The money will fund the module's design through a key review by the end of 2020.
By Dr. Deganit Paikowsky.
NASA has selected three U.S. companies to design and develop human landing systems (HLS) for the agency's Artemis program, one of which will land the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024. NASA is on track for sustainable human exploration of the Moon for the first time in history.
It's official: when astronauts land on the Moon in 2024 they will get there with help from the European Service Module. The European Space Agency signed a contract with Airbus to build the third European Service Module for NASA's Orion spacecraft that will ferry the next astronauts to land on the Moon.
NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center has released a solicitation for additional providers to its Flight and Payload Integration Services contract for the Flight Opportunities program.
NASA is resuming work on a series of tests to bring the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage to life for the first time, allowing engineers to evaluate the new complex stage that will launch the Artemis I lunar mission.
The U.S. space agency on Friday unveiled the "Artemis Accords," a set of principles it seeks to use as the basis of bilateral agreements with other countries. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine explained in a briefing that the intention of the accords is to provide a basis for what other nations would agree to when joining NASA's Artemis program, which aims return NASA astronauts to the lunar surface in four years.
NASA is making several changes to its plans to return humans to the surface of the moon by 2024, including launching the first two elements of the lunar Gateway together and adding a critical demonstration to the first crewed Orion flight.
NASA has ordered 18 more rocket engines for its new Space Launch System megarocket for future Artemis moon missions. The new order, valued at $1.79 billion, calls for the California-based aerospace company Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide 18 RS-25 engines to power future SLS rockets. The agreement builds upon an existing deal between NASA and Aerojet for six SLS engines. This new order boosts the final contract's value to about $3.5 billion through 2029, NASA officials said.
As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, overcoming the immediate crisis is the top priority. Recovery will require thoughtful planning, investment, and patience. At the same time, it is important that we look beyond the crisis toward grand efforts that push boundaries and fuel humanity's aspirations. That is why we continue to work on Artemis, the USA's program to send humans forward to the Moon and on to Mars.
SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics will spend the next 10 months developing their systems.
The National Space Society commends NASA for its updated Artemis mission plan for returning humans to the Moon. The new roadmap, called "NASA's Plan for Sustained Lunar Exploration and Development," was released on April 2.
NASA is forging ahead with its Artemis program to land humans on the moon by 2024, and has just offered its first plan - titled "NASA's Plan for Sustained Lunar Exploration and Development" - for what a U.S. lunar presence may look like after that milestone.
NASA may have just found the next man to walk on the moon - or the first woman to land on Mars - or someone who can float above the Earth and make repairs to the International Space Station..
NASA has completed the testing process meant to simulate performance in in-space conditions for its Orion crew spacecraft, developed by Lockheed Martin and designed to carry crew on the agency's Artemis missions. It reportedly 'aced' the tests according to NASA, which include thermal vacuum and electromagnetic interference performance checks.
The powerful SLS rocket being built for NASA's Artemis moon program will have cost more than $18 billion by the time it blasts off on its maiden flight in 2021. Already running two years behind schedule and some $2 billion over budget because of technical problems, changing requirements and contractor performance, potential delays for the rocket's second mission - the first to carry astronauts - could push the SLS program's cost to nearly $23 billion by 2023, the OIG reports.
Artemis 1, which will mark the first flight of the SLS and the second of Orion, is currently over a year away, pushing back the November 2020 launch time frame that was previously announced by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
The plan asks a lot of Boeing.
NASA's Artemis program is heralding a moon rush, and nobody - from SpaceX to Russia - wants to be left behind..
NASA has completed the giant rocket that will take US astronauts back to the Moon, the space agency's head announced Monday, pledging the mission would take place in 2024 despite being beset by delays.
Houston Matters producer Joshua Zinn takes us inside the Orion capsule to learn how NASA's next missions to the moon will eventually lead to Mars.
The agency that sent humans to the moon 50 years ago is offering $7 billion to take the first steps for a U.S. return to the lunar surface within five years.
The odds that NASA can accomplish its huge task in five years are looking longer and longer with each passing week.
The Northrop Grumman built attitude control motor (ACM) on Orion's launch abort system was successfully tested on August 22, at their facility in Elkton, Maryland. The 30-second trial by fire was the second to last test before it's qualified for human spaceflight on Artemis 2 -- the first mission with astronauts. During the static test, the ACM produced more than 7,000 pounds of thrust from eight valves, providing enough force to steer Orion and its crew to a safe distance.
NASA is building a system to send astronauts to the Moon for Artemis missions, and that includes tests to make sure the Orion spacecraft is prepared to safely carry crew on an alternate mission profile in the face of unexpected problems. That capability was most recently demonstrated with a successful, continuous 12-minute firing of Orion's propulsion system that simulated a possible alternate mission scenario.
Here's the timeline for the Artemis program, which has the goal of returning two astronauts to the lunar surface 'in a sustainable way ' to prepare for sending astronauts to Mars for the first time ever.
The agency needs a finished rocket, a tiny space station, and a brand new lander.
NASA has selected three commercial Moon landing service providers that will deliver science and technology payloads under Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) as part of the Artemis program. Each commercial lander will carry NASA-provided payloads that will conduct science investigations and demonstrate advanced technologies on the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the lunar surface by 2024.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will make a significant announcement about the Artemis program's lunar exploration plans at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 23, at the Florida Institute of Technology.
The space agency's administrator says it absolutely plans to return on the back of its own launchers.
The space agency says $1.6 billion will do nicely to help accelerate its moon landing plans.
NASA's next mission to the Moon will be called Artemis, the US space agency announced Monday, though it's still looking for the money to make the journey happen by its accelerated 2024 deadline.
The president directed NASA to land American astronauts on the Moon by 2024, and NASA has accepted the challenge. "We've been given an ambitious and exciting goal" said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. He confirmed at the 35th Space Symposium on April 9, 2019, that the agency's proposed human lunar landing system architecture remains the plan to return crew to the surface as quickly as possible. The human lunar lander will be a public-private partnership working directly with American companies to expedite the program.
The powerhouse that will help NASA's Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool Orion during flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.
From 2005 through 2009, the space agency strove to recapture the glory of the space race - with less than half the funding.
The Orion capsule that will make the first flight test into space was celebrated as the cornerstone of a new era of exploration for America's space program.
NASA's top human space exploration official told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday the agency expects to settle on a design and schedule for a new heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule by this summer, but experts say it's unlikely the vehicles will meet a mandate to be ready for flight by 2016.
Officials are designing the Space Launch System and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle after the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 directed the agency to develop and fly a heavy-lift rocket by the end of 2016.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, blasted Obama's decision to cancel NASA's [Constellation Program] manned mission to the moon.
President Barack Obama's 2011 budget request has effectively shut down NASA's five-year effort to return astronauts to the moon, leaving the U.S. space agency with lofty goals - but no firm deadlines - to once again send humans beyond Earth orbit.
The budget request, released today, would scrap NASA's Constellation program to build the Orion spacecraft and Ares rockets for new manned moon missions - a $9 billion investment to date. The request calls for $19 billion in funding for NASA in 2011, a slight increase from the $18.3 billion it spent in 2010.
The president wants to scrap NASA's space shuttle successor, now in development, and relax the agency's focus on returning to the moon.
Orion is the vehicle NASA's Constellation Program is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for human space exploration.