WASHINGTON – NASA has awarded more than million 400 million worth of contracts to both, showing the technology needed to explore the future moon and send ice-drilling payloads to the moon’s south pole.
NASA announced on October 16 that it has awarded a 47 47 million task order to one of the 14 companies in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program to deliver polar resources to the Ice Mining Experiment 1 (PRIME-1) payload. The moon’s south pole by the end of 2022.
The Prime-1 is a 40-kilogram payload designed to detect water ice at a depth of one meter below the lunar surface. It will test the nearby infrared spectrometer, mass spectrometer and drill that NASA plans to fly on the Volatile Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission in 2023.
Jim Rutter, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Technologies for G, said: “We are building our capabilities for Scene-T resource use, using resources on the moon,” he told a group meeting of the 14th Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium. Brings education, government and industry together to evaluate the technologies needed for lunar surface research. Prime-1 was the first experiment to support the effort, he said.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein, speaking earlier in the same meeting, also discussed the importance of both PRIME-1 and VIPER. “Understanding this mission is important to understand where we need to go so we can get the best assessment of those volatile people,” he said, which could help the agency identify a promising landing site for future crude Artemis missions.
This mission will be the second for intuitive machines under the CLPS program. It received its first CLPS task order in May 2019 for a mission scheduled to launch in late 2021. Astrobotics received that first task order, as well as one in June for the VIPR mission. The Maston space systems launched the CLPS in April for a mission to the moon’s south polar regions. The order was won.
The launch of PRIME-1 was announced two days after NASA provided large sums of money for lunar surface technologies. The 15 awards given to 14 companies through the agency’s tipping point program are intended to advance near-maturity technologies that could support the next, “sustainable,” phase of the Artemis program.
While announcing the tipping point award to Bridenstein, Brodenstein said NASA believes such companies, and the capabilities they develop, will be transformative. “But we also believe it will bring some pressure from NASA.”
Of the 37 2,372.2 million in the tipping point agreement, 6 256.1 million will go to four companies working on cryogenic fluid management technology demonstration demonstrations: Eta Space, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance. The four companies plan to space demonstrate technologies for the storage and transfer of propellants such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.
“When we fly in space, we have to talk about cryogenic fluids for a long time,” Brydenstan said. “How can we manage cryogenic fluids so that we can make a spaceflight in a way we wouldn’t otherwise be able to?”
Eta Space will use its 27 million award to test liquid oxygen storage technologies to fly a small satellite called LXSet1. Eta is working with the Space Rocket Lab, which will provide a photon satellite bus LOXSAT 1 to launch a spacecraft on its electron rocket.
Leheid Kahid Martin won the 89.7 million award for testing liquid hydrogen storage technology on a small satellite. The company is working with Moments, which will host payloads on the Vigoride Orbital Transfer vehicle, and Relativity Space, which will launch the vehicle on its Thirteen 1 rocket in October 2023.
SpaceX, which is already working with NASA on a study of cryogenic fluid management technology, won $ 53.2 million to demonstrate the transfer of 10 tons of liquid oxygen between tanks on a Starship vehicle in orbit. Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, when asked about refueling orbits at the Mars Society conference on Oct. 16, said: “We’ve got a chance to do that in ’22. ‘
The United Launch Alliance will use its .2 86.2 million award to demonstrate a “smart propulsion cryogenic system” using the centurion upper stage of its new Vulcan rocket. The demonstration includes tank-to-tank transfer of propellants and testing of “multi-week” storage.
The remaining tipping point funds went to 10 companies to demonstrate many of the technologies needed for landing and operating on the lunar surface. Maxton Space Systems won two contracts with its Xogdor vehicle to demonstrate precision landing techniques and a system to provide heat and power for payloads to survive lunar nights, with a total cost of 12.8 million.
Other awards ranging from ૨ 4.6 million to 41 41.6 million, technologies such as power systems, payloads from the lunar regulator to oxygen cato, and robotic arm. Nokia won a 14.1 million award for developing a lunar communications system using a 4G wireless network.
Intuitive machines won the biggest award for the development of the “hopper” that can carry a kilogram payload of up to 2.5 kilometers on the lunar surface. “It will give us high-resolution mapping of volatiles on the lunar surface,” Brydenstan said. “It will help us understand how to direct specific landing locations on the lunar surface.”