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“Fuel” and Fire: NASA’s Artemis Missions to the Moon, feat. Metallica


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    • By NASA
      A Commercial Lander Touches Down on the Moon on This Week @NASA – February 23, 2024
    • By NASA
      On Feb. 22, 2024, Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander captures a wide field of view image of Schomberger crater on the Moon approximately 125 miles (200 km) uprange from the intended landing site, at approximately about 6 miles (10 km) altitude. Credit: Intuitive Machines For the first time in more than 50 years, new NASA science instruments and technology demonstrations are operating on the Moon following the first successful delivery of the agency’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative.
      Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander, called Odysseus, completed a seven-day journey to lunar orbit and executed procedures to softly land near Malapert A in the South Pole region of the Moon at 5:24 p.m. CST on Feb. 22. The lander is healthy, collecting solar power, and transmitting data back to the company’s mission control in Houston. The mission marks the first commercial uncrewed landing on the Moon.
      Carrying six NASA science research and technology demonstrations, among other customer payloads, all NASA science instruments completed transit checkouts en route to the Moon. A NASA precision landing technology demonstration also provided critical last-minute assistance to ensure a soft landing. As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the lunar delivery is in the region where NASA will send astronauts to search for water and other lunar resources later this decade.
      “For the first time in more than half a century, America returned to the Moon. Congratulations to Intuitive Machines for placing the lunar lander Odysseus carrying NASA scientific instruments to a place no person or machine has gone before, the lunar South Pole,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This feat from Intuitive Machines, SpaceX, and NASA demonstrates the promise of American leadership in space and the power of commercial partnerships under NASA’s CLPS initiative. Further, this success opens the door for new voyages under Artemis to send astronauts to the Moon, then onward to Mars.” 
      During the journey to the Moon, NASA instruments measured the quantity of cryogenic engine fuel as it has been used, and while descending toward the lunar surface, teams collected data on plume-surface interactions and tested precision landing technologies.
      Odysseus’ surface operations are underway and expected to take place through Thursday, Feb. 29.
      New lunar science, technology
      NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing (NDL) guidance system for descent and landing ultimately played a key role in aiding the successful landing. A few hours ahead of landing, Intuitive Machines encountered a sensor issue with their navigation system and leaned on NASA’s guidance system for an assist to precisely land. NASA’s instrument operates on the same principles of radar and uses pulses from a laser emitted through three optical telescopes. It measures speed, direction, and altitude with high precision during descent and touchdown.
      “We are thrilled to have NASA on the Moon again, and proud of the agency’s contribution to the successful landing with our NDL technology. Congratulations for completing this first lunar delivery for NASA, paving the way for a bright future for our CLPS initiative,” said Nicky Fox. “Some of the NASA science instruments on this mission will bring us insight on lunar plume interactions and conduct radio astronomy. The valiant efforts and innovation demonstrated by Intuitive Machines is exemplary and we are excited for the upcoming lunar deliveries that will follow this first mission.”  
      Now that they are on the lunar surface, NASA instruments will focus on investigating lunar surface interactions and radio astronomy. The Odysseus lander also carries a retroreflector array that will contribute to a network of location markers on the Moon for communication and navigation for future autonomous navigation technologies.
      Additional NASA hardware aboard the lander includes:
      Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator: A small, CubeSat-sized experiment that will demonstrate autonomous navigation that could be used by future landers, surface infrastructure, and astronauts, digitally confirming their positions on the Moon relative to other spacecraft, ground stations, or rovers on the move. Laser Retroreflector Array: A collection of eight retroreflectors that enable precision laser ranging, which is a measurement of the distance between the orbiting or landing spacecraft to the reflector on the lander. The array is a passive optical instrument and will function as a permanent location marker on the Moon for decades to come.    Radio Frequency Mass Gauge: A technology demonstration that measures the amount of propellant in spacecraft tanks in a low-gravity space environment. Using sensor technology, the gauge will measure the amount of cryogenic propellant in Nova-C’s fuel and oxidizer tanks, providing data that could help predict fuel usage on future missions.    Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath: The instrument will observe the Moon’s surface environment in radio frequencies, to determine how natural and human-generated activity near the surface interacts with and could interfere with science conducted there. Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies: A suite of four tiny cameras to capture imagery showing how the Moon’s surface changes from interactions with the spacecraft’s engine plume during and after descent. NASA is committed to supporting its U.S. commercial vendors as they navigate the challenges of sending science and technology to the surface of the Moon.
      “In daring to confront one of humanity’s greatest challenges, Intuitive Machines created an entire lunar program that has ventured farther than any American mission to land on the Moon in over 50 years,” said Altemus. “This humbling moment reminds us that pursuing the extraordinary requires both boldness and resilience.”
      For more information about CLPS, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      -end-
      Faith McKie / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov / karen.c.fox@nasa.gov
      Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
      Johnson Space Center, Houston 
      281-483-5111 
      nilufar.ramji@nasa.gov / laura.g.sorto@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 EditorJennifer M. DoorenLocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA and Intuitive Machines will host a televised news conference at 5 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 23, to detail the Odysseus lander’s historic soft Moon landing.
      With the last-minute assistance of a NASA precision landing technology, the first CLPS, or Commercial Lunar Payload Services, mission carrying the agency’s science and technology demonstrations successfully landed on the Moon at 6:23 p.m. on Feb. 22.
      This mission is the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in more than 50 years. Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the lander, which is solar charging and has good telemetry.
      The news conference will air on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV on a variety of platforms including social media.
      Participants in the news conference include:
      Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for Exploration, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington Prasun Desai, deputy associate administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters Steve Altemus, chief executive officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines Tim Crain, chief technology officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines This event is virtual only. To ask questions during the news conference, media must RSVP to the NASA newsroom no later than two hours before the start of the call to: hq-media@mail.nasa.gov.
      For more information about the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, visit: 
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      -end-
      Cheryl Warner / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov / karen.c.fox@nasa.gov
      Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
      Johnson Space Center, Houston 
      281-483-5111 
      nilufar.ramji@nasa.gov / laura.g.sorto@nasa.gov
      Josh Marshall
      Intuitive Machines, Houston
      jmarshall@intuitivemachines.com
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      Naval helicopters fly over a test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft and personnel involved in training activities in the Pacific Ocean in July 2023, in preparation for Artemis II. Teams from NASA, including the Artemis II crew, and the Department of Defense are training this month off the coast of San Diego to prepare to recover the astronauts and Orion when they return to Earth. Credits: NASA/Kenny Allen Media are invited to speak with the four Artemis II astronauts on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Naval Base San Diego in California. The crew will fly around the Moon next year as part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, marking the first astronauts to make the journey in more than 50 years.
      NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense are conducting training with the crew in the Pacific Ocean to demonstrate the procedures and hardware needed to retrieve NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch, and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Jeremy Hansen after their approximately 10-day, 685,000-mile journey beyond the lunar far side and back.
      The flight is the first crewed mission under NASA’s Artemis campaign and will test the agency’s Orion spacecraft life support systems needed for future lunar missions.
      Attendees will be able to view hardware associated with the training, including a test version of Orion aboard the USS San Diego, and speak with other personnel from the agency and the Defense Department who are responsible for bringing the crew and the capsule to safety after the mission.
      Media interested in attending must RSVP by 4 p.m. PST, Monday, Feb. 26, to Naval Base San Diego Public Affairs at nbsd.pao@us.navy.mil or 619-556-7359. The exact time of the planned afternoon Feb. 28 event is subject to the conclusion of testing activities.
      Under Artemis, NASA will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon, land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the lunar surface, and prepare for human expeditions to Mars for the benefit of all. 
      For more about NASA’s Artemis II mission, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission/artemis-ii/
      -end-
      Rachel Kraft
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      rachel.h.kraft@nasa.gov
      Madison Tuttle
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-298-5868
      madison.e.tuttle@nasa.gov
      Courtney Beasley
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      courtney.m.beasley@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Feb 22, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis 2 Astronauts Christina H. Koch G. Reid Wiseman Humans in Space Victor J. Glover View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA’s Josh Whitehead has a passion for systems engineering. He now helps lead the team developing the rocket that will fly the first crew to deep space since the Saturn V. The campaign name of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the Moon, also has special meaning for Whitehead. “I have a twin sister, and Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo. I’m like, hey, I’m a twin! How cool is that?”NASA/Sam Lott Launching a rocket to the Moon takes perseverance and diligence. Josh Whitehead – a world-class engineer, race-winning long-distance runner, and father – knows that it also takes a good attitude.
      “Positive energies are vital, particularly when working through challenges,” Whitehead says. “Challenges are opportunities to learn and grow. There’s always more than one way; always more than one solution.”
      Whitehead’s job as the associate manager for the Stages Office of NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket supports design, development, certification, and operation of the 212-foot-tall SLS core stage. The massive core stage with two propellant tanks that collectively hold more than 733,000 gallons of super-cold propellant is one of the largest cryogenic propulsion rocket stages.
      Whitehead joined the SLS Program, based at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, early on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Complicating matters further, in June 2020, Whitehead was injured in a hit-and-run cycling accident so devastating that it separated his right shoulder and broke his back in three places.
      Amid his necessary rehabilitation and surgeries, Whitehead learned to type left-handed and one-handed. Through it all, he was working to further the agency’s Artemis campaign and preparing for the first launch of the SLS rocket for Artemis I.
      Now back to running and having participated in a local charity race every year since 2007, the avid runner and engineer will tell you that, like a recovery, the road to launch is not a sprint. It’s a cadenced effort as teams across the country worked toward a common goal. During his rehabilitation and path to run again, Whitehead and his team finished assembling the first SLS core stage and the successful eight-part Green Run test campaign of the entire stage at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, prior to the Nov. 16, 2022, Artemis I launch.
      Whitehead and his team are now manufacturing and processing core stages for multiple Artemis missions, including Artemis II in 2025, the first crewed flight under Artemis that will test the life-supporting systems in the Orion spacecraft ahead of future lunar missions.
      Whitehead holds multiple advanced degrees in engineering from Auburn University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He got his start in the aerospace industry conducting subscale motor manufacturing tests for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. From systems engineering supporting NASA’s Constellation Program and verifying and validating the solid rocket booster element in the SLS Program’s early days, to qualification activities and safety and mission assurance for the Artemis I flight, Whitehead has a passion for cross-discipline work.
      “Being able to work systems engineering activities and multiple elements is all complementary. But the common thread is it’s about the people, the process, and the product,” he said.
      SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.
      View the full article
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