On September 10th, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced on his official blog that NASA will buy samples taken on the moon from private companies.
The open call for participants is for NASA’s all-out Artemis program, which is expected to be completed by 2024, when a manned lunar landing is scheduled.
At least one company will be selected from overseas, and contract companies will be required to collect samples of 50 to 100 grams and submit the collection method and photo data. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to bring the sample back to the ground, the transfer of ownership may happen on the moon.
The price of the reward is not known, but it is said that 10% will be paid at the time of contract, 10% at the time of launch, and the remaining 80% when the sample is handed over.
The early phase of lunar development costs a lot of money, including lander and rover development and launch costs, while customers are currently limited to the government and the hurdles for non-US entry to the Artemis program.
The US tries to set the precedent for transfer of mineral ownership taking place in space.
Dynetics Announces Mockup of Artemis Program Moon Lander
New developments have been made in the Human Landing Systems (HLS) in the US-promoted Lunar Plan Artemis Program.
Artemis Program is the name of the lunar development plan under which NASA will send humankind to the lunar surface again by 2024. Artemis is the goddess of the moon and is named after the twins of Apollo.
The purpose of this project is not only to send people to the surface of the moon, but also to prepare for the exploration mission of Mars by letting humans stay in and around the moon for a long time. Two astronauts, male and female, will take part in the programme.
Dynetics, one of the three companies selected to develop HLS in May of this year, co-hosted a full-scale mockup of its own manned lander (DHLS) with AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). It was announced at the company’s webinar.
The lander mockup was developed primarily by NASA astronauts and engineers to evaluate the placement of the lander’s main systems and determine the optimal location of the equipment.
DHLS also revealed that it is a landing system that requires refueling on the moon. Within a few years, Dynetics plans to mature its cryogenic propellant replenishment technology in space to a practically operational level, with in-orbit testing ahead of future manned flight of the lander. In addition to announcing this lander mockup, Dynetics also announced that it has completed Lander’s system requirements review and technology baseline review. These were one of the early milestones of the $ 253 million HLS deal from NASA.
Blue Origin, also adopted as an HLS developer, announced on September 14 that it had completed a similar review of the lunar lander under development and agreed with NASA on a number of design and manufacturing standards. The other adopter, SpaceX, has not published any information about similar reviews. The three companies selected will elaborate the concept of the lander in the 10 months until February 2021, and NASA will finally adopt one company. We will continue to pay attention to the Artemis program, in which multiple private companies compete with each other for development.
China launches satellites offshore
China is making great strides in satellites launches.
On September 15, China carried out the launch of Long March 11 at sea. Nine earth observation satellites “Yoshibayashi No. 1 Kobun 03 Satellite” from Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd. , a Chinese venture company, were installed .
Jilin No. 1 will be used for land and resource monitoring, city planning, and disaster management. Chang Guang has also announced plans to launch 138 earth observation satellites over the next few years.
This is the second offshore launch in China, following June 2019.
While launching at sea has the great advantage of being able to move the range, it is said to represent a high technological hurdle.
In 1995, Sea Launch, a limited liability company centered on the United States and Russia, provided a commercial launch service using a sea launch system, but due to the failure of the launch, it went bankrupt in 2009.
In Japan, venture company AstroOcean is conducting research and development with Chiba Institute of Technology and Obayashi Corporation with the aim of launching a small rocket from the sea. The company has successfully launched two launch experiments in 2019, and is also developing a launch site for the launch of a large rocket.