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NASA Announces 19 Space Act Agreements, With a Focus on Returning to the Moon

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-08-01 13:09:39

NASA has announced [] 19 non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements (SAAs) with 13 U.S. companies, including SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Aerogel Technologies of Boston, and others. No money will be exchanged, but NASA employees will offer their knowledge and expertise for a variety of projects.

SpaceX's SAAs [] concern landing Starship on the Moon and refueling Starship in-orbit:

SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, will work with NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to advance their technology to vertically land large rockets on the Moon. This includes advancing models to assess engine plume interaction with lunar regolith.

[...] SpaceX will work with Glenn and Marshall to advance technology needed to transfer propellant in orbit, an important step in the development of the company's Starship space vehicle.

Following its 20-meter hop test [], SpaceX's Starhopper is scheduled to conduct a 200-meter hop [] no earlier than August 12, with backup dates on the 13th and 14th.

Blue Origin will work on a navigation system and technologies for the company's planned lunar lander:

Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, will collaborate with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and Goddard to mature a navigation and guidance system for safe and precise landing at a range of locations on the Moon.

[...] Blue Origin will partner with Glenn and Johnson to mature a fuel cell power system for the company's Blue Moon lander. The system could provide uninterrupted power during the lunar night, which lasts for about two weeks in most locations.

[...] Blue Origin, Marshall and Langley will evaluate and mature high-temperature materials for liquid rocket engine nozzles that could be used on lunar landers.

Other technologies being collaborated on include a CubeSat radio transponder for the Space Network [], flexible aerogels for rocket soundproofing, and Hall-effect thrusters [] with extended operating range.

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