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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  Power-propulsion for Deep Space Gateway

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Author Topic:   Power-propulsion for Deep Space Gateway
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39896
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-01-2017 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Selects Studies for Gateway Power and Propulsion Element

NASA has selected five U.S. companies to conduct four-month studies for a power and propulsion element that could be used as part of the deep space gateway concept. The agency is studying the gateway concept with U.S. industry and space station partners for potential future collaborations. These latest studies will help provide data on commercial capabilities as NASA defines objectives and requirements as well as help reduce risk for a new powerful and efficient solar electric propulsion (SEP) technology in deep space.

NASA needs a 50-kW SEP system, which is three-times more powerful than the capabilities available today, for future human missions. Earlier this year, NASA sought study proposals under Appendix C of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement. The request identified 23 topic areas including potential commercial synergies to support development of a power and propulsion element.

Combined funding awarded for the selected studies is approximately $2.4 million. The selected companies are:

  • Boeing of Pasadena, Texas
  • Lockheed Martin of Denver, Colorado
  • Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems of Louisville, Colorado
  • Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California
"NASA will use these studies to gain valuable insight into affordable ways to develop the power and propulsion element leveraging commercial satellite lines and plans,” said Michele Gates, director of the Power and Propulsion Element at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Advancing a high power SEP system will help drive future exploration missions and help take humans farther into deep space than ever before."

A new power and propulsion element will leverage advanced SEP technologies developed by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. An overarching objective of these studies is to understand the driving technical differences between prior SEP-powered mission concepts and potential new requirements for NASA’s deep space gateway concept.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39896
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-21-2018 10:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Will Seek Partnership with US Industry to Develop First Gateway Element

As part of the agency's Exploration Campaign, NASA's Gateway will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space. Built with commercial and international partners, the Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars.

NASA released a draft solicitation through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) June 21, 2018, for proposals for partnership for the first element of the Gateway. NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway's position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed. It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications. In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an industry day July 10 at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland prior to issuing the final BAA. Industry day details are available in the draft BAA.

Through this upcoming solicitation, industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft. Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.

"We believe partnering with U.S. industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives," said Michele Gates, director, Power and Propulsion Element at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our goal here is to gain input from industry on the draft solicitation to enable release of the final later this summer."

The power and propulsion element is also expected to enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during deep space spacewalks, human exploration of the lunar surface, and more.

To meet current Gateway development planning, NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022.

The draft BAA follows a synopsis issued earlier this year for the power and propulsion element as well as studies completed in March by five U.S. companies to provide data on current commercial SEP capabilities and plans. In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an industry day next month prior to issuing the final BAA.

NASA is returning to the Moon with commercial and international partners as part of an overall agency Exploration Campaign in support of Space Policy Directive 1. The draft BAA is the first call from NASA to U.S. industry to acquire an element for the Gateway. Previous efforts will inform development of the Gateway. Most recently, NASA issued a Request for Information to better understand how U.S. industry would use or enhance the Gateway to support a growing space economy. The agency also asked industry for information regarding technical use of the Gateway to enable or evolve initial capabilities for human exploration, science and commercial activities in deep space. Earlier this year, NASA also hosted a workshop to kick-off discussions about how the Gateway could create scientific value for both robotic and human exploration in deep space.

Finally, ongoing work through the agency's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, or NextSTEP, which began in 2016, will support future habitation capabilities for the Gateway. In addition to building habitation prototypes, five companies under NextSTEP contracts are also developing full Gateway concepts.

"Since the directive was issued in December to return to the Moon, the agency has been moving full-steam ahead with plans for robotic and human lunar exploration," said Jason Crusan, director, Advanced Exploration Systems, at NASA Headquarters. "It's an exciting time to be at NASA, and we look forward to partnering with U.S. industry and international partners as we lead the return to the Moon, and go beyond."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39896
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-10-2018 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) release
Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Key Step for NASA's NextSTEP-2 Long-Duration Space Travel Study

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) completed a NASA study for the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), which is the first module planned to be launched for NASA's Gateway in lunar orbit. The study was performed under one of SNC's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) contracts. SNC plans to submit a bid to win the NASA contract when the agency issues its formal solicitation for the element later this year.

"Our design provides pressurized volume in addition to the capabilities NASA requires," said Steve Lindsey, vice president of SNC's Space Exploration Systems and former NASA space shuttle commander. "We are providing significant mission flexibility for transportation and operations from low-Earth orbit to lunar orbit." Lindsey flew on five space shuttle missions for NASA and commanded three assembly and test missions to the International Space Station. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015.

The study included a comprehensive look to determine the operational uses of the PPE, if it fits NASA's needs and the opportunity for multiple commercial applications. SNC was one of five companies selected for the study.

The PPE is the first element of the lunar Gateway and represents the beginning of human lunar and deep space presence in the 21st century.

SNC's NextSTEP-2 architecture concept works toward the Gateway initiative, which could be used for lunar exploration or an outpost for long-duration travel, such as missions to Mars. The PPE provides power generation and distribution, propulsion for orbit maneuvering and communications for the Gateway concept. SNC continues to develop the Gateway architecture through the company's NextSTEP-2 Appendix A contract.

The proposed SNC PPE design leverages technology developed for the Dream Chaser spacecraft cargo module which allows SNC to capitalize on previous technology and testing, therefore reducing costs.

Other PPE attributes:

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne Solar Electric Propulsion Module featuring four 13 kW Advanced Electric Propulsion System thrusters
  • Logistics & Control Module, derived from SNC's Cargo Module used under our Commercial Resupply Services 2 Contract (CRS-2) with NASA, provides avionics, Guidance, Navigation & Control, pressurized volume for cargo delivery & habitable volume
PPE helps further SNC's work on our NextSTEP-2 Appendix-A habitat contract, which includes building a prototype in Louisville, Colorado.

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