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Topic: NASA’s Orion spacecraft

NASA Goddard Technologists and Scientists Prepare for a New Era of Human Exploration

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists, engineers, and technologists are preparing for a new era of human exploration at the Moon, which includes a new launch system, capsule, and lunar-orbiting outpost that will serve as the jumping-off point for human spaceflight deeper into the Solar System.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is playing a vital role in these initiatives, particularly in the areas of communications and instrument development as evidenced by the recent award of five proposals under NASA’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) to advance spacecraft-based instrument for use in lunar-landing missions.

The technologies needed for sustainable exploration at the Moon will have to be powerful, multipurpose, and fast, said Jake Bleacher, Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

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NASA establishes groundwork for exploration of the Moon, Mars in 2018

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA welcomed a new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, and chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, in 2018. Their focus is on firmly establishing the groundwork to send Americans back to the Moon sustainably, with plans to use the agency’s lunar experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars. 

“Our agency’s accomplishments in 2018 are breathtaking. We’ve inspired the world and created incredible new capabilities for our nation,” Bridenstine said. “This year, we landed on Mars for the seventh time, and America remains the only country to have landed on Mars successfully.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, right, join with representatives of nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, right, join with representatives of nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s Orion Spacecraft’s Service Module arrives from Europe

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The powerhouse that will help NASA’s Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool during Orion flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.

The service module is integral to human missions to the Moon and Mars. After Orion launches on top of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, the service module will be responsible for in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections.

The European Service Module for NASA's Orion spacecraft is loaded on an Antonov airplane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, for transport to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For the first time, NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft, extending the international cooperation of the International Space Station into deep space. Credits: NASA/Rad Sinyak

The European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft is loaded on an Antonov airplane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, for transport to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For the first time, NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft, extending the international cooperation of the International Space Station into deep space. Credits: NASA/Rad Sinyak

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NASA releases plan to return to the Moon, travel to Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In December of 2017, President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1, in which the president directed NASA “to lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.”

In answer to that bold call, and consistent with the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, NASA recently submitted to Congress a plan to revitalize and add direction to NASA’s enduring purpose.

NASA's Exploration Campaign to land astronauts on the moon and build lunar orbiting platform. (NASA)

NASA’s Exploration Campaign to land astronauts on the moon and build lunar orbiting platform. (NASA)

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NASA’s Space Launch System rocket’s Core Stage has been assembled

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The first major piece of core stage hardware for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket has been assembled and is ready to be joined with other hardware for Exploration Mission-1, the first integrated flight of SLS and the Orion spacecraft. SLS will enable a new era of exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, launching crew and cargo on deep space exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

The backbone of the world’s most powerful rocket, the 212-foot-tall core stage, will contain the SLS rocket’s four RS-25 rocket engines, propellant tanks, flight computers and much more. Though the smallest part of the core stage, the forward skirt will serve two critical roles. It will connect the upper part of the rocket to the core stage and house many of the flight computers, or avionics.

The first major piece of core stage hardware for NASA's Space Launch System rocket has been assembled and is ready to be joined with other hardware for Exploration Mission-1. The forward skirt will connect the upper part of the rocket to the core stage and house many of the flight computers, or avionics. (NASA/Eric Bordelon)

The first major piece of core stage hardware for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket has been assembled and is ready to be joined with other hardware for Exploration Mission-1. The forward skirt will connect the upper part of the rocket to the core stage and house many of the flight computers, or avionics. (NASA/Eric Bordelon)

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NASA lists Five Technologies Needed for Orion Spacecraft to travel in Deep Space

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When a spacecraft built for humans ventures into deep space, it requires an array of features to keep it and a crew inside safe.

Both distance and duration demand that spacecraft must have systems that can reliably operate far from home, be capable of keeping astronauts alive in case of emergencies and still be light enough that a rocket can launch it.

Missions near the Moon will start when NASA’s Orion spacecraft leaves Earth atop the world’s most powerful rocket, NASA’s Space Launch System.

Artist rendering of NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it travels 40,000 miles past the Moon during Exploration Mission-1, its first integrated flight with the Space Launch System rocket. (NASA)

Artist rendering of NASA’s Orion spacecraft as it travels 40,000 miles past the Moon during Exploration Mission-1, its first integrated flight with the Space Launch System rocket. (NASA)

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NASA to focus on Return to the Moon, Mission to Mars, and Beyond

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – “The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use.

This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, worlds beyond.”

President Donald Trump

NASA to refocus exploration efforts on the Moon. (NASA)

NASA to refocus exploration efforts on the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA plans Exploration Missions to the Moon

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is focused on an ambitious plan to advance the nation’s space program by increasing science activities near and on the Moon and ultimately returning humans to the surface.

As part of the President’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, NASA is planning a new Moon-focused exploration campaign that starts with a series of progressive commercial robotic missions.

Commercial robotic landers and more to be in NASA's new Moon Exploration Campaign. (NASA)

Commercial robotic landers and more to be in NASA’s new Moon Exploration Campaign. (NASA)

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NASA completes Second RS-25 Engine Hot Fire Test of 2018

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA followed up the first RS-25 test of 2018 with a second hot fire of the Space Launch System (SLS) engine on February 1st at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The full-duration, 365-second certification test of another RS-25 engine flight controller on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis comes about two weeks after a January 16th hot fire.

The test marks completion of green run testing for all four of the new RS-25 engine flight controllers needed for the second flight of NASA’s SLS rocket. NASA is building SLS to send humans to such deep-space destinations as the moon and Mars.

NASA preforms second hot fire of the Space Launch System (SLS) engine on February 1st at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (NASA)

NASA preforms second hot fire of the Space Launch System (SLS) engine on February 1st at Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. (NASA)

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NASA practices Orion Spacecraft Recovery in Pacific Ocean

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s new deep space exploration systems will send crew 40,000 miles beyond the Moon, and return them safely home. After traveling through space at 25,000 miles per hour, the Orion spacecraft will slow to 300 mph after it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. The spacecraft then slows down to 20 mph before it safely splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.

When astronauts come back from deep space, they will need to be picked up as quickly as possible. That’s where Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Recovery Team comes in.

NASA Recovery Team rehearses picking up the Orion capsule in the Pacific Ocean. (NASA)

NASA Recovery Team rehearses picking up the Orion capsule in the Pacific Ocean. (NASA)

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