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Breeding stock?

I dunno friends, it sure looks like it could be the beginnings of a Death Star to me. ? 

Hope it doesn't have the space equivalent to an MCAS system.

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Nuclear power in space, could it also be used in Aviation?


General Atomics delivers nuclear thermal propulsion concept to NASA
by Staff Writers
San Diego CA (SPX) Sep 21, 2020

"NTP systems for NASA Human Mars Missions are achievable in the near-term, and our solution takes advantage of cutting-edge advances, especially with nuclear fuel and high temperature ceramic matrix composite materials. By applying modern science and engineering methods, GA-EMS is reducing risk in space NTP technology development and rapidly advancing the state-of-the-art."

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has delivered a design concept of a Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) reactor to power future astronaut missions to Mars for a NASA-funded study. The study, managed by Analytical Mechanics Associates (AMA), explored a design space defined by key performance parameters as well as figures of merit.

The GA-EMS design exceeded the key performance parameters and optimized the NTP reactor for manufacturability, the highest ranked figure of merit. "GA-EMS is uniquely positioned to develop and deliver a cost effective, safe NTP reactor system to progress future space missions," stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS.

"This is an exciting effort that directly aligns with our 60+ years of nuclear energy research and development, including nuclear reactor design and deployment and our expertise in space systems. We are excited to contribute our ideas to the next generation of space exploration for our country and our world."

GA-EMS' NTP reactor concept leverages advancements in modern nuclear materials and manufacturing methods with valuable experience from the company's involvement on NASA Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Project Rover in the 1960s; one of the first programs to demonstrate the feasibility of space-based nuclear thermal propulsion. GA fabricated approximately 6 metric tons of the nuclear fuel kernels for the project.

In 1965, the company was also directly involved in nuclear fuel testing and characterization for the SNAP-10A reactor, the only U.S. nuclear power reactor launched into space, which powered the satellite for 43 days. The fuel used for that reactor is the same fuel that has been used since the 1950s in the 66 Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics (TRIGA) reactors built in the U.S. and around the world. GA-EMS continues to build upon these technologies today.

The GA-EMS design proposes new features that address issues observed in historical designs, such as fuel element corrosion, and achieves a compact core using High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) instead of High-Enriched Uranium (HEU). As a result, GA-EMS was invited recently to brief the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Space Nuclear Technologies.

"Our team was extremely honored to present our ideas for a NTP reactor design to the NAS committee," said Dr. Christina Back, vice president of Nuclear Technologies and Materials at GA-EMS.

"NTP systems for NASA Human Mars Missions are achievable in the near-term, and our solution takes advantage of cutting-edge advances, especially with nuclear fuel and high temperature ceramic matrix composite materials. By applying modern science and engineering methods, GA-EMS is reducing risk in space NTP technology development and rapidly advancing the state-of-the-art."

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Nasa outlines plan for first woman on Moon by 2024

By Paul RinconScience editor, BBC News website
  • 22 September 2020
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Artemis artworkImage copyrightNASA

The US space agency (Nasa) has formally outlined its $28bn (£22bn) plan to return to the Moon by 2024.

As part of a programme called Artemis, Nasa will send a man and a woman to the lunar surface in the first landing with humans since 1972.

But the agency's timeline is contingent on Congress releasing $3.2bn for building a landing system.

Astronauts will travel in an Apollo-like capsule called Orion that will launch on a powerful rocket called SLS.

Speaking on Monday afternoon (US time), Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine said: "The $28bn represents the costs associated for the next four years in the Artemis programme to land on the Moon. SLS funding, Orion funding, the human landing system and of course the spacesuits - all of those things that are part of the Artemis programme are included."

But he explained: "The budget request that we have before the House and the Senate right now includes $3.2bn for 2021 for the human landing system. It is critically important that we get that $3.2bn."

Artemis: To the Moon and Beyond


The US House of Representatives has already passed a Bill allocating $600m towards the lunar lander. But Nasa will need more funds to develop the vehicle in full.

Mr Bridenstine added: "I want to be clear, we are exceptionally grateful to the House of Representatives that, in a bipartisan way, they have determined that funding a human landing system is important - that's what that $600m represents. It is also true that we are asking for the full $3.2bn."

In July 2019, Mr Bridenstine told CNN that the first woman astronaut to walk on the Moon in 2024 would be someone "who has been proven, somebody who has flown, somebody who has been on the International Space Station already". He also said it would be someone already in the astronaut corps.

At the time of this interview, there were 12 active woman astronauts. They have since been joined by five other female Nasa astronauts who graduated from training earlier this year. But it remains unclear whether they can fulfil the criteria in time to fly on the first landing mission in 2024.


Asked about the timeline for choosing crew members for the Artemis missions, the Nasa chief said he hoped to pick a team at least two years prior to the first mission.

However, he said: "I think it's important we start identifying the Artemis team earlier than not... primarily because I think it will serve as a source of inspiration."

By sending astronauts back to the Moon, the White House wants to renew American leadership in space. The administration has also cited concerns about China's spacefaring ambitions.

Last year, the East Asian superpower became the first nation to softly land a robot rover on the far side of the Moon. The country is now preparing for its first mission to deliver samples of lunar soil to labs on Earth.

It has been developing a next generation spacecraft for its astronauts that could fly to deep space destinations such as the Moon. Though China isn't on a timeline to get there before America, it could make considerable progress towards such a goal this decade.

The new Nasa document outlines Phase 1 of the plan, which includes an uncrewed test flight around the Moon - called Artemis-1 - in the autumn of 2021.

Nasa's human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders said that Artemis-1 would last for about a month to test out all the critical systems.

She said that demonstration flight would reduce the risk for Artemis-2, which will repeat the trip around the Moon with astronauts.

A new test has been added to this mission - a proximity operations demonstration. Shortly after Orion separates from the upper-stage of the SLS rocket - known as the interim cryogenic propulsion stage - astronauts will manually pilot the spacecraft as they approach and back away from the stage.


This will assess Orion's handling qualities, along with the performance of the spacecraft's hardware and software.

Artemis-3 will become the first mission to send astronauts to the lunar surface since Apollo 17 some 48 years ago.

Nasa has provided $967m (£763m) to several companies to work on designs for the landing vehicle that will take them there.

Later in the decade, the plan calls for Nasa to establish a base for humans, called Artemis Base Camp, that would include the infrastructure needed for long-term exploration of the Moon.

Scientists would like to extract water-ice from the lunar South Pole, because it could potentially be used to make rocket fuel on the Moon, at a lower cost than carrying it from Earth.

By comparison with Artemis, the Apollo programme in the 1960s and 70s cost upwards of $250bn in inflation-adjusted US dollars.

However, the $28bn for this new plan does not include money already spent developing the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

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NASA reveals new details of $28B Artemis lunar landing program
by Don Jacobson
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 23, 2020

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NASA has released new details of its Artemis project to send astronauts to the surface of the moon by 2024, including the cost of its first phase - $28 billion.

In an update provided by the space agency Monday, the administrators said $16.2 billion of the total would be to produce the initial Human Landing System - the new-generation moon landers which would carry astronauts to the lunar surface.

If successful, the mission would mark mankind's first landing on the lunar surface since 1972, as well as the first woman to walk on the moon.

Also for the first time, the landing site and base camp of the moon mission was revealed as a spot at the lunar South Pole near Shackleton Crater.

The 2024 target is four years earlier than NASA originally planned but it has moved quickly to meet a challenge issued by Vice President Mike Pence, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein said.

"With bipartisan support from Congress, our 21st century push to the moon is well within America's reach," he said in a statement. "As we've solidified more of our exploration plans in recent months, we've continued to refine our budget and architecture."

Artemis' main goals, he said, include "scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we're also building momentum toward those first human steps on [Mars]."

The first phase of the Artemis program includes three flights to the moon: an unmanned test flight next year, a piloted circling of the moon in 2023 and the actual moon landing the following year.

Bridenstine told reporters the 2024 target date, however, is dependent on a requested $3.2 billion for lander development as part of NASA's fiscal 2021 budget.

"It is critically important that we get that $3.2 billion," he said. "And I think that if we can have that done before Christmas, we're still on track for a 2024 moon landing."

But, he warned, if the lander is not fully funded by March, "it becomes increasingly more difficult."

Source: United Press International

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10 hours ago, Marshall said:

Artemis' main goals, he said, include "scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers. As we build up a sustainable presence, we're also building momentum toward those first human steps on [Mars]."

At times I wish I could escape reality and live in the  dream world most of NASA populates....

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The Air Force’s robot pilot returns to the skies

5 hours ago
2II4G6KWCNEOBNXINYPUVAYMUM.jpg The Air Force Research Laboratory took its ROBOpilot out for a test flight Sept. 24. (AFRL photo)

A developmental robot pilot that transforms manned aircraft into unmanned systems is flying again after the Air Force Research Laboratory took its ROBOpilot out for a test flight at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, Sept. 24.

ROBOpilot’s name belies the simplicity of the program. In order to turn a manned aircraft into an unmanned one, AFRL simply replaces the human pilot with a robot who interacts with the aircraft controls the same way a human would: it can pull the yoke, press pedals to control rudders and brakes, adjust the throttle and flip switches. In addition to the robot’s own internal GPS and inertial measurement unit, the system scans the gauges on the dashboard for information about the aircraft and its position, processing that information with a computer to independently fly the plane.


Importantly, ROBOpilot requires no permanent modifications. All operators need to do is remove the pilots' seats and replace them with ROBOpilot. And if users determine that they want to return the aircraft to a manned mission, ROBOpilot is simply removed and the pilots' seats are reinstalled.

The robotic system is the result of a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) award granted to DZYNE Technologies by the AFRL’s Center for Rapid Innovation (CRI).

Despite a successful first flight in August 2019, the system was later grounded after it maintained damage during a landing mishap.

“The CRI and DZYNE team analyzed the findings and incorporated the recommendations to ensure the success of this latest test,” said Marc Owens, CRI’s program manager for ROBOpilot. “We determined the cause of the mishap, identified the best course of corrective action and we’re very pleased to be flight testing again.”


Since then, ROBOpilot has been cleared to fly again and installed in a new Cessna 206. On Sept. 24, the system returned to the skies for a 2.2 hour test flight over Utah.

“Since this is a completely new build with a different Cessna 206, we re-accomplished the flight test points completed on our first flight last year,” Owen explained. “ROBOpilot is too good an idea to let the mishap derail the development of this technology.”

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Here’s what Lockheed will have to do to make up for F-35 spare parts problems

By: Valerie Insinna   36 minutes ago

Two F-35s bank after receiving fuel over the Midwest on Sept. 19, 2019. The two aircraft were in route to the 158th Fighter Wing out of the Vermont Air National Guard Base, South Burlington, Vt., the first Air National Guard unit to receive the aircraft. (Master Sgt. Ben Mota/U.S. Air Force)


WASHINGTON — The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin reached a handshake agreement that will require Lockheed to invest about $70.6 million to fix an ongoing problem with F-35 spare parts that resulted in increased government labor costs, the department announced on Sept. 29.

Over the past few months, Lockheed and the Defense Contracts Management Agency have been locked in a dispute over more than 15,000 F-35 spare parts sent to the U.S. military with incorrect or incomplete “electronic equipment logs” or EELs, which allow the parts to be absorbed into the F-35′s logistics system and installed on the jet.

Lockheed and the Defense Contracts Management Agency expect a final agreement to be formalized sometime within the next two weeks or so, said DCMA spokesman Matthew Montgomery, who confirmed the $70.588 million deal to Defense News.

The use of EELs — which allow the government to track the usage and lifespan of major F-35 parts — is unique to the joint strike fighter program and is meant to help inform smarter, more cost-effective maintenance and buying practices.

But when parts are delivered with inaccurate EEL information, it can take hours for military maintainers and Lockheed support personnel to track down the correct data that will allow a part to be uploaded into the system and installed in the aircraft.


Instead of paying back the government directly for the added costs associated with the EELs, Lockheed will “compensate the government with Lockheed Martin investments” that will ultimately ensure spare parts are delivered with accurate electronic logs, said Lockheed spokesman Brett Ashworth.

“We appreciate the partnership with the Defense Contract Management Agency and the F-35 Joint Program Office, and we remain focused on ensuring the warfighter has the support they need to employ the F-35′s game changing capabilities,” he said.

The final sum of the agreement is less than half of the $183 million sum that DCMA initially projected that the government had spent to correct wrong or incorrect EELs since 2015. It was not immediately clear why DCMA had agreed to a compensation deal worth so much less than the department’s estimated costs.

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Space station crew woken up to hunt for air leak

  • 30 September 2020
ISSImage copyrightNASA

Astronauts were woken during the night to continue the hunt for an air leak on the International Space Station (ISS).

Crew members have been hunting for the source over several weeks.

But the search was stepped up a notch when the size of the leak appeared to grow on Monday; this erroneous reading turned out to have been caused by a temperature change onboard the ISS.

Analysis by ground teams traced the leak to the main work area inside a Russian ISS module called Zvezda.

This module contains life support equipment for the space station and also houses living quarters for two crew members.

Further analysis will be necessary to pinpoint the precise area from which air is escaping.

Nasa stressed that it posed no immediate danger to the crew at the current leak rate and will only cause a slight deviation to the crew's ongoing work schedule.


Nasa astronaut and station commander Chris Cassidy and Russian space agency (Roscosmos) cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were instructed to move into the Russian segment to collect data at various locations in the Russian modules.

One by one, the crew closed hatches between Zvezda's aft and forward sections, along with passageways to other compartments and modules, while using an ultrasonic leak detector to collect data.

It was the third time in just over a month that the crew had to isolate themselves on the Russian side, in an attempt to find the growing leak.

Throughout the night, pressure measurements were analysed to try to isolate the source of the leak. When the overnight checks were complete, the crew opened hatches once again between the US and Russian segments of the station, resuming their normal activities.

It's not the first time ISS crew members have found themselves hunting a leak.

In August 2018, astronauts discovered a 2mm drill hole in part of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft docked to the space station at the time.

The hole, along with drill marks nearby, appeared to have been a manufacturing defect. Crew members patched it up with epoxy resin for the remainder of the time the Soyuz was docked to the space station.

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SpaceX improved Crew Dragon capsule for planned Oct. 31 launch
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 29, 2020

SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule received an improved heat shield and more powerful solar arrays for a six-month crewed mission planned to launch Oct. 31, the company said Tuesday.

Liftoff is planned for 2:40 a.m. from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew 1 mission to the International Space Station will be the first regular flight for a Dragon spacecraft, which completed a demonstration flight with two astronauts Aug. 2.

The launch will boost the number of astronauts living on the space station to seven, which is the first time in years that has occurred aside from brief overlaps when a new crew arrived.

Flying aboard the capsule will be NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

According to NASA, the launch will be the first time an international crew will fly aboard a NASA-certified, commercially owned and operated U.S. rocket and spacecraft from American soil.

Elon Musk's SpaceX modified the design of the capsule after the demonstration flight, said Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX's vice president for build and flight reliability.

Changes include enhanced solar arrays to power the craft for 210 days and more durable heat shields around connections between the capsule and its cargo trunk.

The heat shields in those areas on the flight capsule showed slightly deeper erosion from atmospheric friction, Koenigsmann said.

The shield issue "was always a safe situation that never got through to the infrastructure, and the heat shield was working great," Koenigsmann said. "This is something we observed and changed to make sure nothing bad would ever happen."

SpaceX also worked with the Coast Guard to plan for additional security where the capsule will land in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. During the landing of the test capsule, civilians in private boats came close as it floated in the water.

This created a potential hazard to the two astronauts aboard, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, as well as to boaters because of the potential for an explosion of unspent rocket fuel.

"We've worked with the Coast Guard to have additional assets in place to make sure that doesn't happen again," said Steve Stich, NASA's commercial crew program manager.

A successful mission will prove the value of NASA's transition away from owning spacecraft and toward contracting with commercial spaceflight companies, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press conference Tuesday.

"We've been able to go from flying space shuttles to now flying commercial vehicles, demonstrating that we can drive down costs and increase access," Bridenstine said.


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Oct. 2, 2020
RELEASE 20-094

NASA Science, Cargo Heads to Space Station on Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launches to the International Space Station on Oct. 2, 2020, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus spacecraft with 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments.
Credits: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations, technology demonstrations, commercial products, and other cargo after launching at 9:16 p.m. EDT Friday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.


The spacecraft launched on an Antares rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 5:20 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 3:45 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, while Ivan Vagner of Roscosmos monitors telemetry during rendezvous, capture, and installation on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.


Cygnus will remain at the space station until mid-December before it disposes of several thousand pounds of trash as it burns up during a safe re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.


This delivery – Northrop Grumman’s 14th contracted cargo flight to the space station and the third under its Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract with NASA – will support dozens of new and existing investigations.


Included aboard Cygnus for delivery to the space station are:


Improving how we 'go' in space


A new toilet is headed to the space station. Its features improve on current space toilet operations and help NASA prepare for future missions, including those to the Moon and Mars. The Universal Waste Management System (UWMS) demonstrates a compact toilet and the Urine Transfer System that further automates waste management and storage. The smaller footprint of the UWMS supports a possible increase in the number of crew members aboard the space station, as well as planning for future exploration missions.


Energy and water from waste 


The investigation Elucidating the Ammonia Electrochemical Oxidation Mechanism via Electrochemical Techniques at the ISS (Ammonia Electrooxidation) examines a process for ammonia oxidation in microgravity. An electrochemical ammonia removal system could serve as an innovative water recovery system on long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars and provide vital drinkable water in remote and arid areas on Earth. 


Adding radishes to the space salad 


A new crop of vegetables is headed to the space station. While previous experiments have grown different types of lettuces and greens aboard the orbiting laboratory, the Assessment of Nutritional Value and Growth Parameters of Space-grown Plants (Plant Habitat-02) investigation adds radishes to the mix, cultivating seeds to see how different light and soil conditions affect growth. Findings could help optimize growth of the plants in space, as well as provide an assessment of their nutrition and taste.


Identifying targeted cancer treatments 


The Leveraging Microgravity to Screen Onco-selective Messenger RNAs for Cancer Immunotherapy (Onco-Selectors) investigation tests drugs based on messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNA) for treating leukemia. In normal gravity, the drugs to be tested are onco-selective, meaning they can distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones. Researchers expect any drugs that also demonstrate this trait in microgravity could make good candidates for safer, more effective, and affordable medicines to treat leukemia and other cancers. This could improve survival rates for thousands of people every year.


Spacewalks in virtual reality 


The International Space Station Experience (ISS Experience) is creating an immersive virtual reality series documenting life and research aboard the space station. Partnering with the ISS National Lab and TIME, a team from Felix and Paul Studios launched a customized 360-degree camera to the space station in December 2018 that crew members have used to record a few hours inside the station every week. Felix and Paul and partner NanoRacks further modified an additional camera to withstand the extreme conditions of space and are launching for use in filming a spacewalk. The new camera will be mounted to the Canadarm2 to capture a spacewalk from start to finish as well as footage of Earth and the exterior of the space station. 


These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory in the areas of biology and biotechnology, physical sciences, and Earth and space science. Advances in these areas will help to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars through NASA’s Artemis program.


In addition to science and research, this launch will also support commercial space endeavors. Estée Lauder’s New Advanced Night Repair serum will be photographed in the space station’s iconic cupola window as part of NASA's efforts to enable commercial activities at the space station and develop a robust low-Earth orbit economy. The imagery will be used on the brand’s social media platforms. These opportunities can help catalyze and expand space exploration markets for many businesses.


The Cygnus spacecraft for this resupply mission is named in honor of Kalpana Chawla, who made history at NASA as the first female astronaut of Indian descent. Chawla, who dedicated her life to understanding flight dynamics, lost her life during the STS-107 mission when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere.


Learn more about Northrop Grumman’s mission at:


Get breaking news, images and features from the space station on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Japan aiming to send hopping spacecraft fuelled by lunar water to Moon
by Lilia Dergacheva
Moscow (Sputnik) Sep 30, 2020

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The project for a top-notch station, Gateway, is a would-be collaboration with the US, and has already driven the Japanese space agency to apply for hefty government funding - around $2.7 billion yearly for the next 15 years.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has asserted it intends to engage in a lunar exploration mission beginning in the mid-2030s, making use of hydrogen fuel that would be locally produced right on the Moon's surface from water extracted from its vast ice deposits, The Japan Times reported.

Making use of local water and water-derived fuel is expected to cost significantly less than transporting the needed amount of water from Earth. According to JAXA's estimates, 37 tonnes of water will be necessary for a trip to and from the Gateway, a lunar orbit space station that is to be built jointly with the US. Overall, five to seven such missions are planned.

While the station itself is expected to be erected in the 2020s, the lunar south pole, researchers hope, will see a fuel factory built there years later, by around 2035.

JAXA has projected that the fuel will be used in a reusable spacecraft tasked with carrying four astronauts to and from Gateway, and a transport vehicle that can travel up to 1,000 kilometres along the Moon's surface, which has low gravity - a feature that will make the transport vehicle be wheel-less, but rather hop across the land.

The science ministry plans to request a record high 280 billion yen ($2.7 billion) for JAXA in its budget inquiry for the next fiscal year. Over the past ten years, the ministry's annual funds have not exceeded 190 billion yen ($1.8 billion).

Not only the US and Japan have been expressing an intention to dig further for water resources on the Moon. China, which has already landed an unmanned spacecraft on the lunar surface, is planning to send a probe to the Moon later this year to collect soil samples.

Independently, Russian space industry giant Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia has recently created and patented a means to fly cosmonauts to the Moon and back without an expensive new heavy-launch rocket. To land cosmonauts on the Moon and bring them back home, the patented system requires one Soyuz-2.1a rocket and three upgraded Angara A5V rockets.

Russia's State Corporation for Space Activities (Roscosmos) envisions launching a manned flight to the Moon by 2030, according the agency's chief, Dmitriy Rogozin, who recently referred to China as the most likely partner for Russia to create a brand new base on Earth's natural satellite.

Source: RIA Novosti

Related Links
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

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Oct. 6, 2020
RELEASE 20-095

NASA Asks: What Would You Pack for the Moon?

Graphic of a NASA moonkit
NASA is sending astronauts back to the Moon by 2024. What would you take if you were going?
Credits: NASA/Darcy Elburn

While advancing its Artemis program – which includes sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 – NASA wants to know what you would pack for a trip to the Moon. The agency kicked off a new social media campaign this week asking participants to share what would be in their lunar suitcases online using #NASAMoonKit.


To take the challenge to the next level, the agency also has an Expert Mode: follow the strict guidelines astronauts must adhere to when packing their “personal preference kits.” Each astronaut traveling to the International Space Station is only allowed a 5-by-8-by-2-inch (12.7-by-20.3-by-5.1-cm) volume of space to carry personal items. That’s significantly smaller than a standard airplane carry-on bag, which measures 9 inches by 14 inches by 22 inches.


“We're excited to see what you would pack for the ultimate adventure – a trip to the Moon," said Bettina Inclán, NASA’s associate administrator for Communications at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. "At a time when many of us are working, teaching or learning from home, this is a unique way to learn more about the Artemis program and join NASA as we prepare for humanity's next steps on the lunar surface.”


How to Share Your #NASAMoonKit:    


To share your kit, upload a photo or video to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and include #NASAMoonKit in the posts.


The digital movement will lead into the agency’s Green Run rocket test planned for November. With the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage anchored in a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, NASA will fire up the powerful stage and fire its four engines for up to eight minutes. That test, known as a hot fire, is the first time the core stage will be operated and the last in a critical series of Green Run tests for the stage before the rocket is assembled for flight at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The next time the core stage will fire up again will be for the Artemis I launch next year.


Select submissions that catch the digital team’s eye will be shared on NASA’s social media accounts or as part of the Green Run broadcast next month. Additional terms and conditions are posted online.


Can’t decide what to pack or looking for other ways to get involved? NASA also has regular opportunities to provide solutions to NASA while winning prizes and more through its NASA Solves website. A few of the current challenges available right now are:



NASA recently published a written plan detailing its Artemis program, including the latest Phase 1 plans to land astronauts on the Moon again within four years. That plan accompanies the agency’s concept for surface sustainability released earlier this year, which calls for an incremental buildup of infrastructure on the surface later this decade. Ultimately, NASA will use what it learns on and around the Moon to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars as early as the 2030s.


Learn more about NASA’s Artemis program at:



Cheryl Warner
Headquarters, Washington

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Maryland Company Licenses NASA's New Search and Rescue Technology
by Amy Klarup for GSFC News
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 07, 2020

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Technologies developed at NASA have helped locate more than 46,000 people through Cospas-Sarsat, an international cooperative system for search and rescue. Furthering the impact of the program, the Strategic Partnerships Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has licensed a second-generation search-and-rescue technology to a company named Concentric Real Time LLC, based in Ellicott City, Maryland.

"NASA's search and rescue technologies have saved the lives of thousands of people," said Eric McGill, a senior technology manager with Goddard's Strategic Partnerships Office. "By licensing this receiver technology, we're expanding the reach of NASA's lifesaving innovations."

NASA's Search and Rescue (SAR) Office, based at Goddard, generates search and rescue technologies for the Cospas-Sarsat community, which uses satellites to provide location data to authorities searching for people who are lost or otherwise in need of rescue. Individuals can carry personal locator beacons; ships, pleasure craft, and aircraft can store beacons on board in case of emergency, which Cospas-Sarsat uses to determine their position.

The new receiver improves on the previous generation of technologies, providing more accurate location data than older systems. Reese Bovard, the president of Concentric Real Time, built the new receiver that his company is licensing. Currently a contractor for NASA's SAR Office, Bovard has worked at Goddard for 13 years as an engineer. The receiver he developed pairs with a new, higher-resolution signal that produces highly accurate location results.

Bovard said the receiver technology is an important building block for the new search-and-rescue system that NASA's SAR Office has developed. Though civil search and rescue is the office's primary mission, the group's technologies have also been adapted for astronauts as part of their survival gear upon return.

"With search and rescue, there's a direct humanitarian benefit that comes from this work," Bovard said.

NASA's Technology Transfer program ensures that technologies developed for missions in exploration and discovery are broadly available to the public, maximizing the benefit to the nation. NASA has an extensive patent portfolio and software catalog with hundreds of technologies available for licensing by the private sector.

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New space service to revolutionise photography at sporting events
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Oct 07, 2020

stock image only

A 900,000 pounds investment from the UK Space Agency in partnership with the European Space Agency will support developers at AWOL, based in the North West, to roll out their space-enabled photography service that is able to upload images in real-time.

The service, which can be used at mass sporting events of all kinds including running, cycling and triathlons, means when a person passes a specific milestone on the course or crosses the finish line, their photos will be delivered instantaneously via smartphone to family and friends.

The investment comes as the UK marks UN-backed World Space Week 2020 (4th to 10th October) which celebrates the contribution made by satellites to everyday lives.

The new project will see a number of rollouts at real events in early 2021 - including the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, Manchester Marathon, Tour de Yorkshire Ride, Royal Windsor Triathlon (organised by Human Race) and the Children with Cancer Swim Serpentine and Standard Chartered Great City Race (organised by the London Marathon Events Company) among others later in the year.

Space is a key contributor to the UK economy, employing around 42,000 people, and it is also fundamental to many sports activities that rely on satellites for time and location services, provided by GPS, and access to the internet, provided by satellite communications.

The project is being led by developers and photographers from AWOL, and supported by some of the UK's major tech brands including SCAN Computing, BigBlu and Wex Photographic, bringing in cutting edge tech from the likes of Microsoft, HP, Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Sony, Cobham and Europasat.

Rich Burnett, Co Founder and Operations Director, said: Image quality is everything: not only will photos be delivered much faster than is currently possible, but it also unlocks huge potential for Quality Control.

Production Managers will be able monitor the actual pictures being taken, and make a range of both physical and technical adjustments to continue pushing the boundaries of event photography.

Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: Space is a glue that joins together many of the practical parts of our everyday lives, from how we bank to our food delivery. But it also supports technologies like sports photography that make life more fun.

AWOL's concept will help revolutionise the quality and the speed of sports photography and I am certain anyone who has taken part in these kinds of events will look forward to using this service.

Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race Events, said: AWOL is a company we've been pleased to work with for the last three years across our event portfolio which includes the award-winning Manchester Marathon, Manchester Half Marathon, Dragon Ride, Windsor Triathlon and others.

It's great to see innovation happening in the area of Photography and Athlete Experience, especially in such a challenging time for our industry and we look forward to reaping the benefits of this new technology as part of our ongoing and profitable partnership with AWOL

Human Race Ltd, under parent ownership of Tour de France owners, Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O) is the UK's premier Mass Participation Sporting Events organiser, with a diverse portfolio of running, cycling and triathlon events year-round including the Manchester Marathon, Tommy's Manchester Half, Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, Tour de Yorkshire Ride, Dragon Ride and Royal Windsor Triathlon.

The UK space sector is an economic success story, growing by over 60% since 2010. The sector already supports 300 billion pounds of UK economic activity through the use of satellite services, and the government has established a new National Space Council to consider how space policy can enhance the country's prosperity and place in the world, as well as our security interests.

The UK continues to be a leading member of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU, having committed a record investment of 374 million pounds per year in November 2019. Satellites support the economy and everyday life and this is one of the UK's fastest growing industries.

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....... Individuals can carry personal locator beacons; ships, pleasure craft, and aircraft can store beacons on board in case of emergency, which Cospas-Sarsat uses to determine their position.......

Based on my experience in SAR (RCC HFX) the biggest problem is the reluctance of persons to carry PLB because of the human tendency to disregard the possibility of requiring help, (I'm never gonna get lost, I'll never have a problem where I am going etc) In addition is the cost of acquiring a beacon, they are relatively expensive, $200.00-$500.00 depending on what features you want. Today most people feel a cellphone  has everything they want and feel with a cell phone the individual requiring assistance can get to someone no matter where they are, and that is just not true. 

While most commercial boats carry some kind of ELT , the emphasis on "most".....again is not true and once again cost becomes the hurtle. Canadian recreational aircraft are required to carry and ELT but the old version, 121.5MHz, is being phased out and 406 MHz will be mandatory by 2024. (The 121.5 were very limited in range and would only be picked up if activated and someone was looking for the aircraft...(not satellite receivable).

My middle son and his wife are life long mountain climbers/skiers and they  BOTH carry PLBs. 

If you are inclined to trek about in the wilderness, climbing and skiing, what price would you put on your personal safety should you require immediate help??

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NASA, Boeing Announce Crew Changes for Starliner Crew Flight Test

NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore, left, and Chris Ferguson
NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore, left, and Chris Ferguson, director of Mission Integration and Operations at Boeing, train for the first flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Credits: NASA

Veteran NASA astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore will join astronauts Mike Fincke and Nicole Mann for NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test, the inaugural crewed flight of the CST-100 Starliner launching to the International Space Station in 2021.


Wilmore will take the place of Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson on the flight test as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Ferguson decided not to fly for personal reasons.


Wilmore has been training side-by-side with the crew since being named the sole backup for all flight positions in July 2018. He now will shift his focus specifically to the spacecraft commander’s duties in preparation for the flight to the space station. The flight is designed to test the end-to-end capabilities of the new Starliner system.


“Butch will be able to step in seamlessly, and his previous experience on both space shuttle and space station missions make him a valuable addition to this flight,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. “Chris has been a talented member of the crew for this mission. The NASA and Boeing Commercial Crew teams sincerely appreciate the invaluable work he has completed and he will continue to lead in the development of Starliner, which will help ensure that the Starliner Crew Flight Test will be a success.”


Wilmore has spent a total of 178 days in space over the course of two missions. In 2009, he served as the pilot of space shuttle Atlantis on STS-129, helping to deliver 14 tons of spare parts for the space station. In 2014, he returned to the space station via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for a 167-day mission, during which he performed four spacewalks.


A native of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Wilmore earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, and a master’s degree in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He is a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, with more than 7,800 flight hours and 663 carrier landings in tactical jet aircraft. He was selected as an astronaut in 2000.


“I’m grateful to Chris for his exceptional leadership and insight into this very complex and most capable vehicle,” Wilmore said. “Having had the chance to train alongside and view this outstanding crew as backup has been instrumental in my preparation to assume this position. Stepping down was a difficult decision for Chris, but with his leadership and assistance to this point, this crew is positioned for success. We will move forward in the same professional and dedicated manner that Chris has forged.”


Ferguson will assume the role of director of Mission Integration and Operations, as well as director of Crew Systems for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program, where he will focus on ensuring the Starliner spacecraft meets the needs of NASA astronauts. In this role, he will be one of the last people the crew sees before leaving Earth and one of the first they see upon their return, as well as supporting them throughout their training and mission.


“I have full confidence in the Starliner vehicle, the men and women building and testing it, and the NASA astronauts who will ultimately fly it,” Ferguson said. “The Boeing team has taken all lessons from our first uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to heart, and is making Starliner one of the safest new crewed spacecraft ever fielded. I will be here on the ground supporting Butch, Nicole, and Mike while they prove it.”


Ferguson has been an integral part of the Starliner program since 2011, after retiring from NASA as a three-time space shuttle veteran, including as commander of STS-135, the final space shuttle flight to the space station.


“My personal thank you to Chris for his leadership. He is putting his family first, which Boeing fully supports,” said Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We are fortunate he will continue to take an active role on the Starliner program and bring his depth and breadth of experience in human spaceflight to the program.”


The development of a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution for crew transportation services to and from the International Space Station remains a priority for NASA and Boeing, allowing the on-orbit research facility to continue to fulfill its promise as a world-class laboratory.


NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry as companies develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and to the space station. Commercial transportation to and from the station will provide expanded utility, additional research time and broader opportunities for discovery on the orbital outpost.


For more information on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, visit:

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On 10/7/2020 at 11:21 AM, Kip Powick said:

....... Individuals can carry personal locator beacons; ships, pleasure craft, and aircraft can store beacons on board in case of emergency, which Cospas-Sarsat uses to determine their position.......

Based on my experience in SAR (RCC HFX) the biggest problem is the reluctance of persons to carry PLB because of the human tendency to disregard the possibility of requiring help, (I'm never gonna get lost, I'll never have a problem where I am going etc) In addition is the cost of acquiring a beacon, they are relatively expensive, $200.00-$500.00 depending on what features you want. Today most people feel a cellphone  has everything they want and feel with a cell phone the individual requiring assistance can get to someone no matter where they are, and that is just not true. 

While most commercial boats carry some kind of ELT , the emphasis on "most".....again is not true and once again cost becomes the hurtle. Canadian recreational aircraft are required to carry and ELT but the old version, 121.5MHz, is being phased out and 406 MHz will be mandatory by 2024. (The 121.5 were very limited in range and would only be picked up if activated and someone was looking for the aircraft...(not satellite receivable).

My middle son and his wife are life long mountain climbers/skiers and they  BOTH carry PLBs. 

If you are inclined to trek about in the wilderness, climbing and skiing, what price would you put on your personal safety should you require immediate help??

Someone I ride with was recently on a solo adventure ride on the Gaspe peninsula.  She ended up stranded hours from anywhere and realized, after trying for a long time to get out, that she needed Help.  She hit the little SOS button on her Garmin Locator and within a couple of hours help arrived and got her and her bike to safety.  If you do anything at all "off the beaten path" the locators are invaluable.


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A new day at MDA. A new brand. A bold outlook.




Oct 08, 2020, 15:46 ET

MDA launches a new corporate identity to highlight soaring space ambitions

BRAMPTON, ON, Oct. 8, 2020 /CNW/ - MDA, Canada's leading space technology company, today launched a new corporate identity – consisting of a new website, branding and a redesigned logo – that showcases a collaborative, optimistic and ambitious posture as an independent, pure-space-play company that is well positioned for the emerging space economy. MDA was recently acquired by a consortium led by Toronto-based investment firm Northern Private Capital (NPC).

MDA launches a new corporate identity to highlight soaring space ambitions (CNW Group/MDA)
MDA launches a new corporate identity to highlight soaring space ambitions (CNW Group/MDA)


For decades, MDA has been a strong partner to the Government of Canada, delivering world-leading, iconic technologies such as the Canadarm family of space robotics for the US Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station and three generations of RADARSAT Earth observation satellites. MDA's roots in satellite communications go back even further to Canada's Alouette program in the 1960s.


The new branding positions MDA as a company with a proven track record and the vision, agility and ambition to push boundaries and solve the world's biggest problems. Together with its intrepid partners, MDA is ready to meet new challenges on land and at sea, and drive toward exciting new opportunities high above.

MDA's deep heritage and broad range of capabilities are organized into three business areas: Geointelligence, Robotics & Space Operations, and Satellite Systems:

Our mission is to turn data into insight. From detecting changes in our fragile ecosystems to monitoring northern ice floes to exposing illegal fishing vessels, our near-real time imagery and data analytics services derived from our space-based radar and multi-sensor ground system capabilities position us as a leading provider of geointelligence to customers worldwide.

With 40 years of operational experience and proven performance on the iconic Canadarm programs including Space Shuttle and International Space Station robotics and operations support, our Robotics & Space Operations team has 100% mission success in making space dreams come true.

As the leading global independent commercial supplier of antennas, payloads, and electronics for communication and radar satellites, our team has successfully contributed to hundreds of missions in the past 60 years. With an extensive heritage in a wide range of solutions delivered to customers globally, our Satellite Systems team continues to grow and evolve on the ground and in the stars.


"We are very excited about the new day at MDA. We are fueled by a pioneering spirit demonstrated across 50 years of proven mission success, and are ready to engage the market with an enhanced collaborative posture. We seek to define our next 50 years partnering with countries and companies with space ambitions and a vision for the future." – Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer, MDA


Brand video:




Serving the world from its Canadian home and global offices, MDA is an international space mission partner and a robotics, satellite systems and geointelligence pioneer with a 50-year story of firsts on and above the Earth. With over 1,900 employees across Canada, the US and the UK, MDA is leading the charge towards viable Moon colonies, enhanced Earth observation, communication in a hyper-connected world, and more. With a track record of making space ambitions come true, MDA enables highly skilled people to continually push boundaries, tackle big challenges, and imagine solutions that inspire and endure to change the world for the better, on the ground and in the stars.


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