Blue Moon lander

Blue Origin’s lunar lander program wins NASA ‘tipping-point’ awards – GeekWire

Blue Moon lander
An artist’s conception exhibits Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lander on the lunar floor. (Blue Origin Illustration)

NASA is awarding $44 million to 6 business companions to help “tipping-point” technologies that vary from lunar touchdown capabilities to in-space refueling and spacecraft servicing.

Blue Origin, the house enterprise that was based by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and is headquartered in Kent, Wash., will obtain $13 million to help its Blue Moon lunar lander program. The focused applied sciences are to be demonstrated throughout flights of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship.

Today’s award announcement comes months after NASA’s third round of solicitations for floor or flight demonstrations that would result in tipping factors within the growth and commercialization of house exploration applied sciences.

“These awards focus on technology collaborations with the commercial space sector that leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA’s exploration goals,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a news release. “While these key technologies will support NASA’s science and human exploration missions in the future, these awards are yet another example of NASA’s commitment to our nation’s growing commercial space industry today.”

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate focused three tech frontiers for the most recent tipping-point awards. Here’s how the picks break down by class:

Expand utilization of house:

  • Blue Origin, Kent, Wash., $10 million: Cryogenic Fluid Management-Enhanced Integrated Propulsion Testing for Robust Lander Services. Blue Origin will mature cryogenic liquid propulsion by means of a mixture of applied sciences in a lunar lander-scaled built-in propulsion system. The mission will culminate in testing of the built-in propulsion system and a separate experiment on New Shepard.
  • Space Systems/Loral, Palo Alto, Calif., $2 million: In-Space Xenon Transfer for Satellite, Servicer and Exploration Vehicle Replenishment and Life Extension. This mission will advance satellite tv for pc servicing and in-space platform propellant replenishment capabilities by growing the potential to switch xenon in house from a servicer or tanker to an lively, operational satellite tv for pc. The incremental addition of xenon switch to current robotic refueling payload opens new refueling alternatives. The mission will reveal that in-space xenon switch will be carried out reliably in house.
  • United Launch Alliance, Centennial, Colo., $10 million: Integrated Vehicle Fluids Flight Demonstration. An Integrated Vehicle Fluids (IVF) system helps extended-duration cryogenic higher stage operations and has purposes for lunar landers. It takes benefit of obtainable liquid hydrogen and oxygen to offer a number of kilowatts of energy whereas doubtlessly eliminating battery energy, helium pressurization, and the hydrazine response management system. This effort contains qualification of key parts of the IVF subsystem and integration and flight on a Centaur higher stage.

Enable environment friendly and secure transportation Into and thru house:

  • Frontier Aerospace Corp., Simi Valley, Calif., $1.9 million: Flight Qualification of the DSE, MON-25 MMH Rocket Engine. This mission will advance Frontier’s Deep Space Engine by flight demonstration as a part of the primary Astrobotic Peregrine lunar lander mission deliberate for 2020. The DSE engine makes use of a propellant that has a decrease freezing level, which offers advantages for exploration landers and deep-space missions by decreasing system weight and required energy.
  • Paragon Space Development Corporation, Tucson, Ariz., $1.6 million: Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage. CELSIUS is a system that may be put in on the floor of the cryogenic higher stage tank of an area launch automobile to offer enhanced insulation capabilities and safety from meteoroids and particles.
  • Space Systems/Loral, $2 million: High Efficiency 6kW Dual Mode Electric Propulsion Engine for Broad Mission Applications. This mission will develop SSL’s electrical propulsion capabilities by growing a selectable “dual mode” energy processing unit able to offering 300 or 600 volts to a 6-kilowatt Hall thruster, rising general mission effectivity and adaptability. This offers sooner, extra environment friendly, propulsive capabilities for future NASA missions.
  • United Launch Alliance, $2 million: Cryogenic Fluid Management Technology Demonstration. This cryogenic fluid administration (CFM) demonstration mission seeks to show that very low cryogenic gasoline boil off is achievable and might help long-duration missions. ULA will carry out vital testing of the prevailing house launch automobile Centaur Cryote-Three tank.

Increase entry to planetary surfaces:

  • Astrobotic Technology, Pittsburgh, Penn., $10 million: Stand-Alone Sensor for High Precision Planetary Landing. This mission will culminate in a lunar expertise demonstration mission, advancing a low-cost, dependable, high-performance, stand-alone Terrain Relative Navigation sensor suite. This lower-mass, lower-power, passive-optical sensor suite is designed to exactly ship robotic landers to planetary surfaces. Demonstrating these capabilities will permit the staff to help NASA in dramatically bettering the efficiency of lunar and planetary touchdown missions.
  • Blue Origin, $Three million: Advancing Sensor Suites to Enable Landing Anywhere on the Lunar Surface. This mission will mature vital applied sciences that allow precision and mushy touchdown on the moon. The mission staff will combine Terrain Relative Navigation, navigation doppler lidar, and altimetry sensors and conduct flight exams previous to lunar mission implementation. Testing will likely be carried out at roughly 100-kilometer altitude onboard New Shepard. The ensuing sensor suite will allow precision touchdown anyplace on the lunar floor.
  • United Launch Alliance, $1.9 million: Mid-Air Retrieval Demonstration. This mission will flight reveal midair retrieval capabilities for payloads weighing as much as eight,00zero kilos, rising present capabilities by an element of 4. Paired with the NASA Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID) mission, this effort will reveal midair retrieval on a automobile returning to Earth from orbital velocity. The mission will use an oceangoing ship able to transporting a helicopter to the restoration zone, and the demonstration will conclude with restoration of the LOFTID re-entry automobile.

Through firm-fixed-price contracts, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will make milestone funds over a efficiency interval of as much as 36 months. Each trade associate is required to contribute a minimal of 25 p.c of the full price for every mission. NASA says it may comply with up on the tasks with extra formidable public-private partnerships.

In May, NASA mentioned Blue Origin would participate in a $10 million public-private program to develop applied sciences for in-situ useful resource utilization on the moon or Mars. Blue Origin executives have mentioned the corporate’s proposed Blue Moon lunar lander may take on its first mission to the moon by 2023 if there’s enough help from NASA.

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