NASA is giving $ 370 million to private companies to advance...

NASA is giving $ 370 million to private companies to advance...
NASA is giving $ 370 million to private companies to advance...
NASA has awarded tipping point contracts worth $ 370 million to aid in an attempt to bring astronauts back the moon and then on to Mars, agency officials announced today (October 14).

Funding is spread across 15 contracts across 14 different companies including SpaceX, Astrobotic, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and Intuitive Machines.

Almost 70% of the money is earmarked for the management of cryogenic liquids such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. For example, SpaceX is receiving $ 53 million for a demonstration in space that will transfer 11 tons (10 tons) of liquid oxygen between next-generation tanks Spaceship vehicles.

Connected: The 21 most beautiful moon missions of all time

Such work could allow rockets and spacecraft to fill their fuel tanks in orbit and elsewhere off earth, NASA officials said. This ability, in turn, is necessary to build a long-term, sustainable human presence on and around the moon, a key objective of the agency Artemis program the manned lunar exploration.

Not all big ticket contracts are focused on propellant storage and handling. For example, intuitive machines that will fly a robotic mission to the lunar surface For NASA next year, nearly $ 42 million was spent developing a deployable jump lander that can carry a small payload of at least 2.5 kilometers on the moon.

The Tipping Point contracts aim to advance potentially transformative technologies “and really take them over the edge,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine during a presentation at the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium conference today.

The $ 370 million is an expected sum. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate will negotiate with all award winners and draw up fixed, fixed-price contracts covering work with a term of up to five years.

Here is a full list of the companies selected and a description of the excellent work as provided by NASA::

Demonstration of the technology for the management of cryogenic liquids

NASA and industrial partners have developed and tested numerous technologies to enable long-term management of cryogenic liquids. This is essential to build a sustainable presence on the moon and to enable crewed missions to Mars. The implementation of the technologies in operational missions requires further maturation through demonstrations in space.

Eta Space from Merritt Island, Florida, $ 27 million

Small flight demonstration of a complete cryogenic oxygen liquid management system. As proposed, the system will be the main payload of a Rocket Lab Photon satellite, collecting critical data on the management of cryogenic liquids in orbit for nine months. The small company will partner with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Lockheed Martin aus Littleton, Colorado, 89,7 Millionen US-Dollar

In-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen – the most difficult of the cryogenic propellants – to test more than a dozen cryogenic liquid management technologies to be positioned for infusion into future space systems. Lockheed Martin will work with Marshall and Glenn.

SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., $ 53.2 million

Large scale flight demonstration of the transfer of 10 tons of cryogenic propellant, especially liquid oxygen, between tanks of a Starship vehicle. SpaceX will work with Glenn and Marshall.

United Launch Alliance (ULA) aus Centennial, Colorado, 86,2 Millionen US-Dollar

Demonstration of an intelligent cryogenic propulsion system using liquid oxygen and hydrogen on an upper stage of the Vulcan Centaur. The system tests the precise tank pressure control, the transfer from tank to tank and the storage of propellant for several weeks. ULA will work with Marshall, Kennedy and Glenn.

Technology demonstration by the Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative

As part of NASA’s Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative, the agency invests in technologies necessary to promote on-site resource use, surface power generation and storage, communication, and more. These skills will help humans and robots explore more of the moon.

Alpha Space Test and Houston Research Alliance, $ 22.1 million

The Space Science and Technology Assessment Facility will provide small-scale experiments with access to the lunar environment to collect data and learn exposure to ultraviolet and charged particle radiation.

Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, 5,8 Millionen US-Dollar

Mature and demonstrate a fast, wireless charging system that can meet the challenges of using technology on the moon. The effort will build and deliver flight units for potential use on commercial robotic landers. Astrobotic will work with Glenn.

Houston intuitive machines, $ 41.6 million

Develop a small, deployable funnel lander that can carry a payload of more than 2.5 kilometers. This funnel could access lunar craters and enable high-resolution measurements of the lunar surface over a short distance.

Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif., $ 2.8 million

Build and demonstrate a universal chemical heat and power source attachment that enables payloads to survive the extreme environments of moonlit nights and craters.

Nokia of America Corporation of Sunnyvale, Calif., $ 14.1 million

Inspired by terrestrial technology, Nokia proposes deploying the first LTE / 4G communication system in space. The system could support communication on the lunar surface over greater distances and higher speeds, and provide greater reliability than current standards.

Columbus, Ohio pH $ 3.4 million

Develop and demonstrate a reversible, regenerative fuel cell that can generate electricity and store energy on the moon’s surface. The technology could power the future infrastructure that processes water harvested on the moon and creates propellants and other mission consumables. The small company will work with Glenn.

Precision Combustion Inc. aus North Haven, Connecticut, 2,4 Millionen US-Dollar

Develop an affordable power solution for space, military, and everyday applications on Earth. The solid oxide fuel cell stack generates electricity directly from methane and oxygen propellants and other in-situ resources.

Sierra Nevada Corporation of Madison, Wisconsin, US $ 2.4 million

Development of demonstration-scale hardware that uses methane and concentrated solar energy to extract oxygen from the moon’s regolith. The hardware could be tested on a commercial lunar lander to prove the full viability of a manufacturing facility using this procedure.

SSL Robotics of Pasadena, California, $ 8.7 million

Development of a lighter and lower cost robotic arm for lunar surface applications, in-orbit maintenance and terrestrial defense applications.

Teledyne Energy Systems aus Hunt Valley, Maryland, 2,8 Millionen US-Dollar

Develop a hydrogen power system to enable a fuel cell with a life of 10,000 hours. Teledyne will fly a test article of the water separator in a parabolic airplane to characterize the effect of different gravity.

Demonstration of the descent and landing ability in a closed loop

Suborbital platforms can enable testing of integrated precision landing and hazard avoidance technologies using lunar trajectories during descent and landing. NASA’s current investments in precision landing and hazard avoidance will benefit from the analysis of flight data collected through tests and missions in relevant environments, including that experienced during suborbital flights.

Masts, $ 10 million

Masts will demonstrate the ability to land precisely and avoid hazards on relevant lunar orbits. Masten will upgrade its Xogdor vehicle to provide a new platform for researchers from government, academia and industry to test space technologies.

Mike Wall is the author of Out There (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for another’s life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or .

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