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Issue No. 219
Last Friday, NASA announced that it had chosen Blue Origin to provide its SLD human landing system for Artemis V, the third crewed mission in the program. This contract will see Blue Origin's 16-meter tall lander fly to the Moon's surface and transport two crew and an unpressurized rover for a week-long stay in 2029. Meanwhile, Axiom Space sent its second fully commercial ISS crew to orbit on Sunday evening, and NASA's NIAC program recently awarded Phase II funding to five innovative projects. Additionally, China is soliciting proposals for a commercial service to its Tiangong station, and 19,000 new undersea volcanoes have been detected by radar satellites. Finally, Saturn has been found to have a total of 145 moons, and a black hole event horizon has been discovered that is far larger than our entire solar system.
Who was selected by NASA to supply their SLD (Sustaining Lunar Development) human landing system?
Blue Origin was selected by NASA to supply their SLD (Sustaining Lunar Development) human landing system.
What are the components of Blue Origin's "National Team" for Blue Moon?
The components of Blue Origin's "National Team" for Blue Moon are Lockheed Martin (refueling vehicle), Draper (GNC), Astrobotic (cargo systems), Honeybee Robotics (cargo systems), and Boeing (docking).
What is the Quantum Rydberg Radar for Surface, Topography, and Vegetation?
The Quantum Rydberg Radar for Surface, Topography, and Vegetation is a sensitive and tunable quantum radar that uses reflected signals from other satellites. A Rydberg atom is one where electrons have been excited (in this case optically) to have a very high principal quantum number and sensitivity to electric and magnetic fields.
How many moons have been added to the Jovian system, bringing its total to?
Twelve new moons have been added to the Jovian system, bringing its total to 92.
What are the two spacecraft that have dedicated their lives to operating for over 45 years?
The two spacecraft that have dedicated their lives to operating for over 45 years are the Voyager spacecraft.
👍 The Orbital Index is a great source of information about the latest space-related news and developments. I'm impressed with the amount of detail they provide about the various contracts and missions.
👎 The Orbital Index is a bit overwhelming, with so much information packed into each issue. It would be helpful to have a more organized format to make it easier to read.
Me: It's about the recent NASA contract awarded to Blue Origin to develop a human landing system for their upcoming Artemis V mission. It goes into the details of the contract, and some of the implications.
Friend: Interesting. What are the implications?
Me: Well, the contract is going to cost over $7 billion to develop, but Blue Origin was able to offer a fixed price bid of $3.4 billion, saving NASA a lot of money. It also looks like Blue Origin and SpaceX will be competing for lunar landings after Artemis V. Plus, there are implications for other projects, like Axiom's ISS mission and the Planetary Defense proposal.
- Research the different components of the Blue Moon lander and the technologies used in its development.
- Follow the progress of the Ax-2 mission and the other upcoming crewed missions.
- Learn more about the NASA NIAC program and the innovative projects it funds.
- SLD (Sustaining Lunar Development)
- A program developed by NASA to sustain lunar development.
- HLS (Human Landing System)
- A system designed to transport humans to the lunar surface.
- TRLs (Technology Readiness Levels)
- A system used to measure the maturity of a technology.
- NRHO (Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit)
- An orbit around the Moon that is close to a straight line.
- Crew Dragon
- A spacecraft designed by SpaceX to transport humans to and from the International Space Station.
- The second fully commercial mission to the International Space Station launched by Axiom Space.
- NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts)
- A program funded by NASA to develop innovative and advanced concepts.
- CFT (Crew Flight Test)
- A test flight of Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.
- KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
- A country in the Middle East.
- ∆V (Delta-V)
- A measure of the change in velocity of a spacecraft.
- A large meteor that explodes in the atmosphere.
- Bistatic Imaging
- A technique used to increase the quality of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images.
- Strontium Radioisotope
- A radioactive isotope of strontium used as a power source in satellites.