NASA has awarded the University of Washington a $499,864 grant to develop a competition that calls on students to turn a simulated lava tube into a habitat suitable for harboring humans on the moon or Mars.
NASA has selected teams led by Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX to develop lunar landing systems capable of putting astronauts on the moon by as early as 2024.
“We want to be able to go to the moon, but we want to be a customer,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters today during a teleconference. “We want to drive down the costs, we want to increase the access, we want to have our partners have customers that are not just us, so they compete on cost and innovation, and just bring capabilities that we’ve never had before.”
Fixed-price contracts totaling $967 million will go to the three corporate teams over the next 10 months to flesh out their proposals for lunar landing systems that would carry astronauts to and from the lunar surface.
NASA has tapped a type of SpaceX cargo craft that hasn’t yet been built to deliver supplies to a moon-orbiting outpost that hasn’t yet been launched.
SpaceX’s robotic Dragon XL, a cylindrical, supersized version of its workhorse Dragon spacecraft, will handle shipments to the Gateway space platform as the first commercial provider to receive a Gateway Logistics Services contract from NASA.
While most discretionary spending is getting the axe in the White House’s newly released budget request, NASA and its Artemis program to put astronauts on the moon by as early as 2024 would receive a big boost.
For fiscal year 2021, which starts in October, NASA would be in for a 12% increase over current-year levels, with a budget of $25.2 billion.
Nearly half of that money, $12.3 billion, would go toward programs focusing on Artemis and the follow-up push toward a human landing on Mars in the 2030s.
Over the course of six decades, NASA has celebrated the selection of its astronauts in groups ranging from the Mercury 7 of 1959 to the Turtles of 2017 — but there’s never been much of a public celebration for their graduation from astronaut training. Until today.
The 11 astronaut candidates selected in 2017, plus two Canadian astronauts who joined them in training, received a grand send-off at Johnson Space Center in Texas from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other VIPs to mark their eligibility for assignment to future space missions.
NASA raised the graduation ceremony’s public profile in part to build up enthusiasm for this year’s expected debut of U.S.-built commercial space taxis, as well as the drive to land astronauts on the moon by 2024 — a campaign known as Artemis.
For the first time in more than 40 years, NASA has opened up a pristine sample of moon dirt and rocks that was collected during the Apollo missions.
Scientists hope that a close analysis of the material from a 2-foot-long, nearly 2-inch-wide core sample will help astronauts get ready for a new series of Artemis moon missions in the 2020s.
When Apollo’s moonwalkers collected samples of lunar soil and rock, also known as regolith, some of those samples were tucked away at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with the expectation that analytical tools would improve over the course of the decades that followed. The idea was to keep the samples fresh until the proper time.
NASA says that proper time is now.
The first of the stored lunar samples, known as 73002, was pushed out of its container at Johnson Space Center’s Lunar Curation Laboratory on Nov. 5.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Not everyone has signed on the dotted line to join NASA’s plan to start sending astronauts to the moon in 2024 via an outpost in lunar orbit known as the Gateway, but the world’s leading space agencies are already staking out their roles.
Russia, for example, plans to work on its own space transportation system that would parallel NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule. Europe and Japan are planning to provide logistical support for space operations. And Canada will be supplying the Gateway’s robotic arm.
Space agency officials laid out the status of their plans for the final frontier today during a panel discussion and follow-up news briefing at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington.
The fashion statement for NASA’s future moonwalkers goes beyond basic white to add some flag-worthy touches of red and blue.
But the color scheme for the “pumpkin suits” that astronauts wear during launches and landings is relatively unchanged, due to practical considerations. It turns out that the old orange, with a few blue accents added, is the new orange.
Both suit designs had their debut today at NASA Headquarters as part of the buildup to the Artemis moon program, which is due to put the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface by as early as 2024.