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    • By NASA
      NASA’s Artemis missions aim to establish a sustained lunar presence on and around the Moon. Communications and navigation technologies will be critical to enabling the safety, science, and operations of our astronauts and missions.NASA Solicitation Number: NNH16ZCQ001K-1_Appendix-Q-LUTNOMS
      July 8, 2024 – Solicitation Released
      Solicitation Overview
      NASA’s long-term vision to provide for a resilient space and ground communications and navigation infrastructure in which space mission users can seamlessly “roam” between an array of space-based and ground-based networks has been bolstered by innovative studies delivered by industry through the Next Space Technologies for Exploration (NextSTEP) – 2 Omnibus Broad Agency Announcement vehicle.  Initially, NASA seeks to create an interoperable architecture composed of a mixture of existing NASA assets and commercial networks and services.  In the long-term, this will allow for a smooth transition to fully commercialized communications services for near-Earth users.  The overarching goal is to create a reliable, robust, and cost-effective set of commercial services in which NASA is one of many customers.
      NASA’s Commercialization, Innovation, and Synergies (CIS) Office has released a solicitation notice under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (Next STEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to seek industry insights, innovative guidance, and demonstrations in the following two (2) Study Areas: 
      Lunar User Terminals Network Orchestration and Management System (NOMS) To support lunar surface operations, NASA is seeking state-of-the-art industry studies, system development, and demonstrations for a dual-purpose navigation and communication lunar surface user terminal.  The terminal must meet technical requirements provided by the government to support lunar surface exploration plans and ensure interoperability with developed LunaNet and Lunar Communications Relay and Navigation System (LCRNS) standards.  The requirements will be split into separate LunaNet Augmented Forward Signal (AFS) navigation receiver and communications transceiver capabilities.  However, the development of a combined communications and position, navigation, and timing (CPNT) system capable of meeting the full suite of requirements is desired.
      Additionally, NASA is seeking innovative industry studies and demonstrations on advanced Network Orchestration and Management Systems (NOMS) that effectively address NASA technical requirements aimed at controlling and interfacing with a globally distributed network of Satellite Ground Systems currently supporting the Near Space Network (NSN).
      The resulting studies will ensure advancement of NASA’s development of space communication and exploration technologies, capabilities, and concepts.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Conceptualization of the GeoXO constellation.Credits: NOAA NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has selected Lockheed Martin Corp. of Littleton, Colorado, to build the spacecraft for NOAA’s Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) satellite program.
      This cost-plus-award-fee contract is valued at approximately $2.27 billion. It includes the development of three spacecraft as well as four options for additional spacecraft. The anticipated period of performance for this contract includes support for 10 years of on-orbit operations and five years of on-orbit storage, for a total of 15 years for each spacecraft. The work will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Littleton and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
      The GeoXO constellation will include three operational satellites — east, west and central. Each geostationary, three-axis stabilized spacecraft is designed to host three instruments. The centrally-located spacecraft will carry an infrared sounder and atmospheric composition instrument and can also accommodate a partner payload. Spacecraft in the east and west positions will carry an imager, lightning mapper, and ocean color instrument. They will also support an auxiliary communication payload for the NOAA Data Collection System relay, dissemination, and commanding.
      The contract scope includes the tasks necessary to design, analyze, develop, fabricate, integrate, test, evaluate, and support launch of the GeoXO satellites; provide engineering development units; supply and maintain the ground support equipment and simulators; and support mission operations at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
      NASA and NOAA oversee the development, launch, testing, and operation of all the satellites in the GeoXO program. NOAA funds and manages the program, operations, and data products. On behalf of NOAA, NASA and commercial partners develop and build the instruments and spacecraft and launch the satellites.
      As part of NOAA’s constellation of geostationary environmental satellites to protect life and property across the Western Hemisphere, the GeoXO program is the follow-on to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites – R (GOES-R) Series Program.
      The GeoXO satellite system will advance Earth observations from geostationary orbit. The mission will supply vital information to address major environmental challenges of the future in support of weather, ocean, and climate operations in the United States. The advanced capabilities from GeoXO will help assess our changing planet and the evolving needs of the nation’s data users. Together, NASA and NOAA are working to ensure GeoXO’s critical observations are in place by the early 2030s when the GOES-R Series nears the end of its operational lifetime.
      For more information on the GeoXO program, visit:
      https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/geoxo
      -end-
      Liz Vlock
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov
      Jeremy Eggers
      Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      757-824-2958
      jeremy.l.eggers@nasa.gov
      John Leslie
      NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
      202-527-3504
      nesdis.pa@noaa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 18, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) Earth Observatory Earth Science Division NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Science Mission Directorate View the full article
    • By NASA
      5 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      AIAA Executive Director Daniel Dumbacher, left, and AIAA President Laura McGill, right, present NASA Space Nuclear Propulsion Chief Engineer Kurt Polzin with the Engineer of the Year Award at the AIAA Awards Gala on May 15 at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.Courtesy of AIAA By Daniel Boyette
      Advanced space nuclear propulsion systems are critical to NASA’s Moon to Mars vision. On May 15, one of the individuals at the forefront of those future exploration efforts was honored for his contributions.
      Kurt Polzin, chief engineer for the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Engineer of the Year award during its awards gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington.
      “The use of nuclear technologies will become increasingly important as the nation returns humans to the Moon and then goes onward to Mars, and realizing these benefits will take not just a NASA effort, but a national effort,” Polzin told the audience. “It’s a privilege to work with and lead some of the best people in government, industry, and academia, bringing the nation closer to a future where nuclear power and propulsion technologies in space become common. What we do today will enable science missions and human exploration beyond anything humans have ever achieved for current and future generations of scientists and explorers.”
      Since 2021, Polzin has overseen NASA’s nuclear propulsion technology development and maturation efforts. He’s also the chief engineer for the agency’s partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program, which aims to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion system in space as soon as 2027.
      “To live and work on the Moon, we’ll need a power and transportation infrastructure, and nuclear space systems offer key capability benefits over current state-of-art,” said Anthony Calomino, NASA’s Space Nuclear Technologies portfolio manager under the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “Kurt’s leadership in this journey to mature our space nuclear propulsion technology is what will get us there. We are proud to see him recognized as AIAA’s Engineer of the Year.”
      Q&A with Kurt Polzin
      Q: What were your emotions when you went to accept the award?
      Polzin: The list of those who have previously received this award is long and illustrious, so it is an honor to be nominated for it. Being selected by my peers as the recipient was a very thrilling and humbling experience. Receiving it at the Kennedy Center, in the presence of many aerospace leaders and my wife in the audience, made it a truly unique and memorable experience.
      Q: You’ve previously stated that individual awards are really team awards. How has being a member of a team helped you to be successful?
      Polzin: Realizing big ideas requires the contributions and expertise of many people across a range of skills and disciplines, and using nuclear technologies in space is about the most significant idea there is. The team we assembled and continue to grow consists of true experts in their disciplines. I constantly rely on them to ensure we are asking the right questions and making investments to advance our capabilities and position the nation for success. 
      Q: What excites you most about the future of space exploration?
      Polzin: In my lifetime, we have never been closer to fully realizing the benefits of nuclear power and propulsion in space. We now have the potential to cross the threshold and open a new era where nuclear technologies will bring about truly transformational change in how we approach all aspects of space exploration.
      Polzin delivers his acceptance speech.Courtesy of AIAA Before his current role, Polzin was the Space Systems Team lead in Marshall’s Advanced Concepts Office. He joined NASA in 2004 as a propulsion research engineer.
      Polzin has a doctorate and a master’s in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University in New Jersey and a bachelor’s in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Ohio State University in Columbus.
      He authored or co-authored over 140 publications, including a recently published monograph, and he holds six U.S. patents. He has also been an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville for many years, teaching graduate-level courses in physics and engineering.
      Polzin’s other honors include the AIAA Sustained Service Award, the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section’s Martin Schilling Outstanding Service and Earl Pearce Professional of the Year, and multiple NASA Patent, Special Service, and Group Achievement awards. He is an associate fellow of AIAA and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
      NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate funds the SNP Office.
      With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries and 95 corporate members, AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.
      For more on Space Nuclear Propulsion, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/tdm/space-nuclear-propulsion/
      For more on Marshall Space Flight Center, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/marshall/
      Ramon J. Osorio
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
      256-544-0034
      ramon.j.osorio@nasa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 05, 2024 Related Terms
      Space Nuclear Propulsion (SNP) Marshall Space Flight Center Technology Demonstration Missions Program Explore More
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    • By Space Force
      A joint team of AFGSC Airmen supported by Space Force Guardians launched an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM equipped with one re-entry vehicle June 4, from Vandenberg SFB, California.

      View the full article
    • By NASA
      2 min read
      June’s Night Sky Notes: Constant Companions: Circumpolar Constellations, Part III
      by Kat Troche of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
      In our final installment of the stars around the North Star, we look ahead to the summer months, where depending on your latitude, the items in these circumpolar constellations are nice and high. Today, we’ll discuss Cepheus, Draco, and Ursa Major. These objects can all be spotted with a medium to large-sized telescope under dark skies.
      From left to right: Ursa Major, Draco, and Cepheus. Credit: Stellarium Web Herschel’s Garnet Star: Mu Cephei is a deep-red hypergiant known as The Garnet Star, or Erakis. While the star is not part of the constellation pattern, it sits within the constellation boundary of Cepheus, and is more than 1,000 times the size of our Sun. Like its neighbor Delta Cephei, this star is variable, but is not a reliable Cepheid variable. Rather, its brightness can vary anywhere between 3.4 to 5.1 in visible magnitude, over the course of 2-12 years.
      This composite of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope gives astronomers a new look for NGC 6543, better known as the Cat’s Eye nebula. This planetary nebula represents a phase of stellar evolution that our sun may well experience several billion years from now. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI The Cat’s Eye Nebula: Labeled a planetary nebula, there are no planets to be found at the center of this object. Observations taken with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescopes give astronomers a better understanding of this complex, potential binary star, and how its core ejected enough mass to produce the rings of dust. When searching for this object, look towards the ‘belly’ of Draco with a medium-sized telescope.
      NASA’s Spitzer, Hubble, and Chandra space observatories teamed up to create this multi-wavelength view of the M82 galaxy. The lively portrait celebrates Hubble’s “sweet sixteen” birthday .X-ray data recorded by Chandra appears in blue; infrared light recorded by Spitzer appears in red; Hubble’s observations of hydrogen emission appear in orange, and the bluest visible light appears in yellow-green. Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, and JPL-Caltech Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy: Using the arrow on the star map, look diagonal from the star Dubhe in Ursa Major. There you will find Bode’s Galaxy (Messier 81) and the Cigar Galaxy (Messier 82). Sometimes referred to as Bode’s Nebula, these two galaxies can be spotted with a small to medium-sized telescope. Bode’s Galaxy is a classic spiral shape, similar to our own Milky Way galaxy and our neighbor, Andromeda. The Cigar Galaxy, however, is known as a starburst galaxy type, known to have a high star formation rate and incredible shapes. This image composite from 2006 combines the power of three great observatories: the Hubble Space Telescope imaged hydrogen in orange, and visible light in yellow green; Chandra X-Ray Observatory portrayed X-ray in blue; Spitzer Space Telescope captured infrared light in red.
      Up next, we celebrate the solstice with our upcoming mid-month article on the Night Sky Network page through NASA’s website!
      View the full article
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