Space

July 8, 2013

NASA seeks information on commercial robotic lunar lander capabilities

NASA July 2 issued a Request for Information that will help agency officials better understand current plans in the U.S. commercial space industry for a robotic lunar landing capability.

The RFI will assist NASA in assessing U.S. industry’s interest in partnerships to develop a robotic lander that could enable commercial and agency missions.

The RFI is available at http://go.nasa.gov/17Pk12S.

“U.S. industry is flourishing with innovative ideas based on NASA’s pioneering work to explore space, including low-Earth orbit and the moon,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations in Washington.” As NASA aims to expand human presence in the solar system through missions to an asteroid and Mars, hundreds of new technologies and experiments aboard the International Space Station are giving humans the tools we need to explore the unknown. New robotic commercial capabilities on the moon could extend that research in important ways, just as NASA expertise could help advance commercial endeavors to reach the moon.”

NASA does not envision an exchange of funds between the agency and any industry partners. Potential NASA contributions to a partnership could include the technical expertise of NASA staff on integrated teams, providing NASA center test facilities at no cost, or contributing hardware or software for commercial lander development and testing.

A commercial lunar lander jointly developed with NASA would capitalize on NASA’s previous investments and expertise in lander technologies. It also would stimulate a commercial capability to deliver payloads to the lunar surface reliably and cost-effectively. Such a capability could enable new services of interest to NASA. These include transportation to support technology demonstrations and science objectives, such as sample returns, resource prospecting at the lunar poles and geophysical network deployment. These services would require the ability to land small- and medium-class payloads, ranging from 62 to 992 lbs (30 to 450 kg), at various lunar sites.

A potential partnership could support launch of a lander as early as 2018. Responses to the RFI will assess the feasibility of a commercial lunar transportation capability in the near-future. This would precede any decision for a future solicitation. The RFI is for planning purposes only and does not constitute a commitment by the government to contract for services.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA/JPL-Caltech image

NASA’s Mars spacecraft maneuvers to prepare for close comet flyby

NASA/JPL-Caltech image This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 m...
 
 
Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Satellite study reveals parched U.S. West using up underground water

Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation The Colorado River Basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet of freshwater over the past nine years, according to a new study based on data from NASA’s GRACE mission. This is almost d...
 
 

NASA selects contract for mission support services at Ames

NASA has selected Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Houston, to support NASA’s flight programs and mission projects, providing support for multiple sustained project management, research and technology development capabilities that encompass all phases of mission and project lifecycles at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The cost-plus-fixed-fee hybrid contract has a...
 

 
NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC) image

Hubble finds three surprisingly dry exoplanets

NASA, ESA, G. Bacon (STScI) and N. Madhusudhan (UC) image This is an artistic illustration of the gas giant planet HD 209458b in the constellation Pegasus. To the surprise of astronomers, they have found much less water vapor i...
 
 
Air Force photograph

Budget cuts, growing threats affect space operations

Air Force photograph The Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or AEHF, system is a joint service satellite communications system that provides survivable, global, secure, protected and jam-resistant communications for high-priori...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>