Trond Krovel's blog

Private U.S. Company to Partner with NASA for Lunar Lander Development

Oddyssey Moon logo. Credits: Odyssey Moon

[Odyssey Moon Press Release - 31.10.2008]

NASA Ames Collaborates to Develop Robotic Lunar Lander

LADEE model. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 31.10.2008]
NASA Ames Research Center is collaborating with a commercial partner to develop a lunar lander for future low-cost missions to the moon.

Astrobotic Technology expeditions will build lunar data library

Astrobotic Technology logo. Credits: Astrobotic Technology

[Astrobotic Press Release - 30.10.2008]
At a meeting of worldwide Moon exploration experts, Astrobotic Technology Inc. today unveiled its plans for a series of robotic expeditions to build a lunar data library.

“Astrobotic will robotically explore the Moon’s high-interest areas on a commercial basis, collecting information required to design future outposts and to answer scientific questions about the Moon and Earth,” said President David Gump. “Our data library also will point the way to utilizing lunar energy and mineral resources to lower the cost of exploration and eventually supply markets on Earth.”

Chandrayaan-1’s Orbit Closer to Moon

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[ISRO Press Release - 29.10.2008]
The fourth orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was carried out today (October 29, 2008) morning at 07:38 am IST. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft’s 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about three minutes. With this, Chandrayaan-1 entered into a more elliptical orbit whose apogee (farthest point to Earth) lies at 267,000 km (two lakh sixty seven thousand km) while the perigee (nearest point to Earth) lies at 465 km. Thus, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft’s present orbit extends more than half the way to moon. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes about six days to go round the Earth once.

NASA to Update Reporters about Constellation Program

[NASA Press Release - 28.10.2008]
NASA will host a media teleconference Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. EDT, to brief reporters about recent developments and ongoing progress in NASA's Constellation Program. Constellation will build the spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station and return humans to the moon by 2020.

Teleconference participants are:
- Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington

ESA's Lunar Robotics Challenge: A tough task for the student teams

Surrey University SELENE rover. Credits: The University of Surrey Lunar Rover Team

[ESA Press Release - 27.10.2008]
The Teide volcanic peak on the island of Tenerife acted as a mock-up of the Moon landscape last week, with eight European student teams tuning, testing and driving their lunar rovers in preparation for a robotics competition that took place during the dark nights of last weekend.

Roving on the Moon is not easy. Lunar robotic explorers have to travel in a vacuum, over rough and steep terrain covered by crust and dust. The Sun heats the rovers up to 110°C and, when driving into a shadow, the temperature can drop to -100°C, or almost -200°C in the polar regions. The rovers have to be remote-controlled or able to steer themselves autonomously, making manoeuvres and scientific research very difficult.

NASA $350,000 Prize Goes to Armadillo Aerospace in Lunar Challenge

X Prize Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Logo. Credits: X Prize

[NASA Press Release - 27.10.2008]
Armadillo Aerospace of Rockwall, Texas, earned $350,000 in NASA prize money during the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge in Las Cruces, N.M.

The challenge is a two-level, $2 million competition designed to accelerate commercial space technology and is sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges program. After Armadillo's $350,000 first place win for level one this year, $1.65 million remains as available prize money for future competitions.

Chandrayaan-1 enters Deep Space

Chandrayaan-1 in orbit around the Moon. Credits: ISRO

[ISRO Press Release - 26.10.2008]
The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has entered deep space after crossing the 150,000 km (one and a half lakh km) distance mark from the Earth. This happened after the successful completion of the spacecraft’s third orbit raising manoeuvre today (October 26, 2008) morning.

During this manoeuvre which was initiated at 07:08 IST, the spacecraft’s 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about nine and a half minutes. With this, Chandrayaan-1 entered a much higher elliptical orbit around the Earth. The apogee (farthest point to Earth) of this orbit lies at 164,600 km while the perigee (nearest point to Earth) is at 348 km. In this orbit, Chandrayaan-1 takes about 73 hours to go round the Earth once.

Lunex and ILEWG organizes Young Lunar Explorers event at the LEAG-ICEUM-SRR conference

Lunex logo. Credits: Lunex

[Lunex Press Release - 23.10.2008]
The Lunar Explorers Society (Lunex) and ILEWG are organizing this year’s Young Lunar Explorers (YLE) event together with the department of Physics & Space Sciences at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), which will be held in conjunction with the LEAG-ICEUM-SRR conference at Cape Canaveral.

NASA Invites Reporters to Tests of Moon Tools in Hawaii

Artist impression of a regolith exavator. Credits: NASA

[NASA Press Release - 22.10.2008]
Media are invited to observe tests of NASA equipment and rover concepts that will demonstrate how astronauts might prospect for lunar resources and make their own oxygen for survival on the moon. The tests will take place Thursday, Nov. 13, starting at 9 a.m. HST outside Hilo, Hawaii.

NASA's In Situ Resource Utilization project focuses on developing methods for astronauts to take advantage of lunar resources at landing sites on the moon. During two weeks of field tests, NASA will demonstrate prototype systems that could enable a sustainable and affordable lunar outpost by minimizing the amount of water and oxygen that must be supplied from Earth. The Pacific International Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, headquartered at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, will host the tests.

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