ESA Opening Up to New Ideas

ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Hessen and Baden-Württemberg start-up Deep Blue Globe is developing the Artificial Intelligence based solution POSEIDON based on Earth observation data for the maritime sector to save time and fuel, thus reducing operation costs. (Credit: Deep Blue Globe)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA aims to harness a new resource for future space activities: ideas from European researchers, businesses and the general public. Through its new Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP), anyone is welcome to respond to space-related challenges.

The Agency’s new L.O.L. Surprise Dolls – Series 2 website is a streamlined entry point for novel ideas, both in response to specific problems and open calls. The platform forms part of a wider effort to support the future competitiveness of European space industry with early technology development, implementing the new Shopkins Join The Party Tippy’s Tea Party Exclusive Set.

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Challenging Ourselves to Create the Next Generation of Lunar Explorers

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Moon (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Space exploration brings humanity some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. We faced this hard fact on April 11 when the Beresheet spacecraft developed by Israel’s SpaceIL failed to successfully land on the Moon’s surface. While the Beresheet spacecraft can claim many accomplishments, including being the first privately funded lunar spacecraft, we can learn many things from its failures. These are lessons we, too, must consider as NASA tries to conquer similar challenges as we move forward to the Moon with commercial and international partners.

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Creditr: Yu Gu/Kansas National Geographic

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months

Micro-Probes Propelled and Powered by Planetary Atmospheric Electricity (MP4AE)
Yu Gu
West Virginia University

Inspired by spiders’ ballooning capabilities, the proposed concept envision the deployment of thousands of micro probes to study planetary atmospheres. Each micro probe, with a total mass of about 50 mg, will have a small payload pod hanging under a 200 m long string loop, which provides both atmospheric drag and electrostatic lifts. Two electric booms each about 2.5 m long will sense the Atmospheric Potential Gradient (APG) and harvest a small amount of electricity for powering the probe.

The payload pod will contain energy storage and conversion devices, an actuator for replenishing and regulating the static electric charge on the string loop, and integrated microprocessor, radio, and sensors. The motions of the micro probes will be uncontrolled along the horizontal directions but can be regulated to a limited degree along the vertical direction.

The onboard control system will allow extending the mission time and increasing the probability of keeping the probe in the desired atmospheric layer. If successful, the proposed micro probes can support several future planetary missions by gaining large spatial-scale atmospheric sensing capabilities.

2019 Phase 1 and Phase II Selections
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NASA has released the following statement from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine:

The NASA and SpaceX teams are assessing the anomaly that occurred today during a part of the Dragon Super Drago Static Fire Test at SpaceX Landing Zone 1 in Florida. This is why we test. We will learn, make the necessary adjustments, and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program.

SpaceX has been scheduled to conduct an in-flight abort test using the Super Drago engines in June. That test would use the same Crew Dragon spacecraft that successfully flew to the International Space Station last month.

A flight test to the space station with crew would follow in July. Both those flights could be delayed depending upon the outcome of the investigation into today’s anomaly.

UPDATE NO. 1, 5:53 pm PDT: Source at the Cape says the Crew Dragon that flew to ISS last month was destroyed in an explosion. In-flight abort and flight test to ISS scheduled for June and July, respectively, have been postponed indefinitely.

UDPATE NO. 2, 6:08 pm PDT: Some uncertainty about which spacecraft was involved. Will update.

UPDATE NO. 3, 8:35 am PDT: Yeah, looks like the initial report was accurate. Appears to be the DM-1 spacecraft that flew to station.

SpaceX Crew Dragon Suffers Problem During Test Firing

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SpaceX issued the following statement:

“Earlier today, SpaceX conducted a series of engine tests on a Crew Dragon test vehicle on our test stand at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand. Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test. Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners.”

Editor’s Note: My guess is they were running tests of the SuperDraco engines that will be used on the escape system. There is an in-flight abort test scheduled using the Crew Dragon capsule that just visited the space station. That is set to take place prior to the Crew Dragon flight with astronauts aboard scheduled for sometime in July.

It’s not clear what vehicle they were using today for the test.

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The Robotic External Leak Locator flight unit before launch. (Credit: NASA)

By Kathryn Cawdrey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

NASA is sending humans forward to the Moon, this time to stay. Upcoming expeditions to the Moon will require making every moment of astronaut time outside the safety of the Gateway in orbit and lunar lander system on the surface count. Robotics will enable lunar crews to do more while minimizing their risk.

NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division is teaming up with the International Space Station to develop the technologies for this kind of astronaut-robotic collaboration, and tomorrow is launching a Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) aboard Cygnus on Northrop Grumman’s 11th Commercial Resupply Services mission.

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Dr. Carlos Calle, lead scientist in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, prepares an Electrostatic Dust Shield (EDS) for testing on July 19, 2018. The EDS technology launched to the International Space Station April 17, 2019, as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-11 mission. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Dust can be a nuisance — on Earth and the Moon. Astronauts exploring the Medium L.O.L suprise toy bouquet will need a way to help keep pesky lunar dust out of hard to reach places.

A team at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have the solution. The technology launched to the space station April 17, 2019, from Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-11 mission.

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JUNO rover (Credit : Canadian Space Agency)

Longueuil, Quebec (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded funding worth $700,000 [US$522,368] to a Canadian firm and two universities for projects that will enable Canadian firms to advance key technologies and develop their own potential, while offering training opportunities and hands-on experience for students and young professionals.

These projects will be part of the CSA‘s Star Wars Rebels 3.75 Vehicle Y Wing Scout Bomber [Ages 4+] BRAND NEW, which will position Canada for potential future contributions to lunar rover missions.

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Organization City Province Project Grant value
University of Western Ontario London Ontario CanLunar – A Canadian Lunar Sample Return Analogue Mission $135,275
University of Winnipeg Winnipeg Manitoba Exploring Geological Variations and ISRU Potential at the Lanzarote Lunar Analogue Site $162,500
University of Western Ontario London Ontario Field Deployment of in situ Learning Algorithms for Classifying Planetary Materials $153,670
Total $451,445

Contribution awarded under the Space Technology Development Program – Fisher-Price 70th Anniversary Thomas Train Engine (Special Edition)

Organization City Province Project Contribution value
Canadensys Aerospace Corporation Bolton Ontario LEAD Capability Demonstration $249,963

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Engineers with Exploration Ground Systems monitor their consoles during a countdown demonstration event of cryogenic propellant loading April 12, 2019, inside Firing Room 2 in the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA/Cory Huston)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

1 50 Siku Betonmischer Modell’ launch team at Lexibook K8050SL - Soy Luna blueetooth Karaoke Stereoturm in Florida, completed their first formal training simulation that will certify the team for the inaugural launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Bonk - BRAND NEW spacecraft next year.

The team, led by Launch Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, performed a countdown simulation of loading the SLS with liquid oxygen and hydrogen — complete with surprise issues the team had to work real-time. The thousands of gallons of liquid propellants that will be loaded on launch day are needed to propel the agency’s powerful rocket to the vicinity of the Moon during Cave Paintings - BRAND NEW (EM-1).

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NIAC Award: Power for Interstellar Fly-by

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Power for interstellar fly-bys. (Credit: Geoffrey Landis)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months

Geoffrey Landis
NASA Glenn Research Center

Launching ultra-miniature probes to fly past an exoplanet a nearby star using a laser-pushed sail is now being seriously discussed as a mission, primarily by the “Breakthrough Starshot” program. An interstellar probe will require power for both observations and communications when it reaches the target exoplanet system… but the proposed mission gives a mass allocation that is milligrams, far less than the mass of any real-world power system. We propose harvesting power from the motion of the spacecraft as it passes through the target system’s ambient environment.

2019 Phase 1 and Phase II Selections
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Cygnus Cargo Ship Attached to International Space Station

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April 19, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After its capture this morning at 5:28 a.m. EDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 7:31 a.m. At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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7B1C EDC Live Transmission Drone WIFI Drone 200W PixelTRAVERSE CITY, Mich., (Atlas Space Operations PR)–ATLAS Space Operations, Inc., a leading innovator in ground communications for the space industry, today announced an agreement to develop its LINKS platform with the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). The competitively awarded rapid prototyping program will run for 12 months, and will deliver a complete satellite communications platform tailored to the Air Force’s Multi-Band Multi-Mission requirements, as outlined by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Range and Network Systems Division.

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Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) Spacecraft Configuration. OCSD differs from other space-based laser communication systems because the laser is hard-mounted to the spacecraft body, and the orientation of the CubeSat controls the direction of the beam. This makes the laser system more compact than anything previously flown in space. (Credit: NASA/Ames)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (NASA PR) — Two D68W 2.0MP Camera Wifi FPV Drone Altitude Hold Headless Mode 3D Flip One I7D0 teamed up on an impromptu optical, or laser, communications pointing experiment. The laser beam is seen as a brief flash of light close to the center of the focal plane, to the left of Earth’s horizon.

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