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.


 
 

 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 
 

NASA releases first global rainfall, snowfall map from new mission

Like a lead violin tuning an orchestra, the GPM Core Observatory – launched one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014, as a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – acts as the standard to unify precipitation measurements from a network of 12 satellites. The result is NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM...
 

 

New NASA Earth Science Missions expand view of our home planet

Four new NASA Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space with a fifth newly in orbit ñ after the busiest year of NASA Earth science launches in more than a decade. On Feb. 27, 2014, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from...
 
 

NASA, ESA telescopes give shape to furious black hole winds

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions – a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these...
 
 
NASA photograph by Gary Banziger

Jurczyk named head of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate

NASA photograph by Gary Banziger NASA’s Steve Jurczyck addresses an audience during a manufacturing event in Hampton, Va., last month. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Steve Jurczyk as the agency’s Associ...
 




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>