NASA administrator highlights contributions from Colorado industry and academia
COLORADO SPRINGS – In addition to testing a single orbit for NASA’s lunar gateway, small Colorado company Advanced Space is preparing to demonstrate a new approach to cislunar navigation.
As part of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System (CAPSTONE) Technology and Navigation Operations Mission, slated for launch later this year on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket, Advanced Space plans to demonstrate how the CAPSTONE cubesat can operate. with the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to perform peer-to-peer navigation.
Forward Space was one of three Colorado organizations, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson presented during a press briefing at 36e Symposium space with real enthusiasm.
Nelson visited Colorado several times while serving as a United States Senator from Florida. “But I had no idea there were 500 space-related companies right here in Colorado,” Nelson said. “And I hadn’t realized that so many important revolutionary things were happening here.”
Advanced Space, based in Boulder, the prime contractor for CAPSTONE, “will actually own and operate the satellite for NASA,” said Bradley Cheetham, CEO and Chairman of Advanced Space.
California-based Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems is building the small 25-kilogram satellite with propulsion supplied by another California firm, Stellar Exploration. CAPSTONE plans to embark on its lunar path with a ride on Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft after Electron launches.
Another Colorado company playing a role in NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program is Golden-based Lunar Outpost, a company that develops autonomous robots to explore the surface of the Moon and Mars.
NASA plans to pay Lunar Outpost $ 1 if the company is successful in collecting a small amount of Lunar Regolith, verifying the collection, and transferring ownership to NASA. Nelson paid Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus a progress payment of 10 cents during the August 23 briefing.
“This is the first payment in human history on a space resources contract,” Cyrus said. “This sets out a legal and procedural framework that will be used for generations and decades to come for companies like ours and many others to go out and collect resources from the lunar surface, other planetary bodies and fundamentally make them useful to mankind. “
Lunar Outpost is preparing to send a small robotic rover to the Lunar South Pole in 2022 on an Intuitive Machines lander. The mission will have high-bandwidth communications between the rover and the lander as well as back to Earth using Nokia LTE 4G technologies, Cyrus said.
BioServe Space Technologies, the third Colorado organization presented by Nelson, is part of the Smead Aerospace Engineering Science Department at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
In addition to discussing the cancer research BioServe is conducting in the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station, Luis Zea, BioServe Implementation Project Manager, highlighted workforce training initiatives of its organization.
“We are helping to prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists as they are involved not only in the development of payload and materiel, but also in the procedures that the crew use to perform these experiments, along with the operations and with the science we’re doing on the ground and in space, ”Zea said.