Artemis Stories September 14

NASA has closed its space center in Mississippi and secured a critical piece of Moon-bound rocket hardware ahead of Hurricane Sally’s impact on the Gulf Coast this week. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is home to the B-2 Test Stand where NASA engineers have been busy testing the rocket core stage for Space Launch System.

Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane (96-110 mph wind speeds) Tuesday night before weakening to a tropical storm on Wednesday. The current trajectory shows Stennis Space Center directly in the storm’s path.

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Artemis Stories September 10

Sending the first woman and next man to the Moon isn’t the only lunar goal NASA has for 2024. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced today that the space agency is seeking a commercial company capable of collecting moon rocks for NASA to purchase.

The interesting twist is that the company or companies awarded contracts won’t be required to bring the Moon rocks back to Earth. The objective is simply to demonstrate commerce on the Moon as a concept toward building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface and beyond.

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Artemis Stories August 20

PHOTO DATE: August 11, 2020. LOCATION: Bldg. 9NW - SVMF. SUBJECT: Completed Blue Origin Lunar Lander Mockup in SVMF. PHOTOGRAPHER: Josh Valcarcel
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NASA plans to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, and the Artemis mission to do that will include a commercially developed lunar human landing system. In April, the agency awarded initial funding to three human landing system proposals that will compete to be selected for the mission.

SpaceX, Dynetics, and The National Team (Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper) were each awarded initial funding. Today, The National Team delivered on a major milestone in the process.

An engineering mockup of the Blue Origin-led human landing system has been delivered to the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

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Artemis Stories August 14

In a surprise decision made in May, NASA abruptly replaced its associate administrator in charge of human spaceflight eight days before flying astronauts with a commercial partner for the first time in history. While NASA didn’t cite a specific reason for Doug Loverro’s resignation, the outgoing human spaceflight lead suggested a single mistake was made:

The risks we take, whether technical, political, or persona, all have potential consequences if we judge them incorrectly. I took such a risk earlier in the year because I judged it necessary to fulfill our mission. Now, over the balance of time, it is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear consequences. 

Now the Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors are investigating the incident:

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Artemis Stories July 20

NASA is hard at work on a historic mission to send the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024 under the Artemis program. Prior to the ambitious Artemis 3 mission, astronauts will conduct a lunar flyby mission called Artemis 2.

Aerojet Rocketdyne, the company tasked with building the motors and engines used to transport crew to lunar orbit, now says it has completed manufacturing and testing of the hardware that will be used on the second Artemis mission.

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