NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of ‘Gateway’ Orbital Outpost

NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of 'Gateway' Orbital Outpost

In line with US President Donald Trump’s “Space Policy Directive 1”,┬áNASA┬áhas sought partnership with the US industry to develop the first element of the Gateway, which will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.

NASA has released a draft solicitation seeking commercial and international partners via the Board Agency Announcement (BAA) this week to US industry to acquire an element for the Gateway.

The Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars, NASA said in a statement.

The draft seeks a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed.

It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications, the statement said.

“We believe partnering with US industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives,” said Michele Gates, Director (Power and Propulsion Element) at NASA.

Through the upcoming solicitation, industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft.

Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.

The power and propulsion element is also expected to enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during spacewalks in deep space, human exploration of the lunar surface and more.

To meet current Gateway development planning, NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022, the statement said.

In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an Industry Day on July 10 prior to issuing the final BAA.

 

 

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Orbital ATK Launches Cargo Into Space Aboard Antares Rocket

Orbital ATK Launches Cargo Into Space Aboard Antares Rocket

Orbital ATK on Monday blasted off its revamped Antares rocket carrying supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station two years after a major rocket explosion.

The unmanned Cygnus cargo ship launched from Wallops Island, Virginia at 7:45pm (5:15am IST), packed with some 5,100 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of gear bound for the station’s astronauts living in orbit.

The rocket’s first and second stage portions separated about five minutes after the launch as planned, and the Cygnus cargo ship reached orbit shortly after, according to a live broadcast of the launch onNasa television.

“We have Cygnus spacecraft separation,” an Orbital ATK commentator said amid the sound of applause in mission control.

An Antares rocket exploded in October 2014 just seconds after liftoff, causing some $200 million in damage and lost equipment.

(Also see: Nasa Selects Six Firms to Develop Habitats for Mars Mission)

The company blamed the accident on a flaw in the rocket’s engines, designed four decades ago in the Soviet Union.

The new Antares 230 uses a different engine that is more powerful than the prior version.

Orbital ATK resumed cargo missions to the International Space Station in December 2014 using a different rocket, the Atlas V made by United Launch Alliance.

Tags: Nasa, Orbital ATK, Antares Rocket, Science

 

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