[meteorite-list] NASA Calls for American Industry Ideas on ARM Spacecraft Development

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 16:45:01 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201510222345.t9MNj2xu003413_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>



NASA Calls for American Industry Ideas on ARM Spacecraft Development
October 22, 2015

NASA, through its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California,
has issued a call to American industry for innovative ideas on how the
agency could obtain a core advanced solar electric propulsion-based spacecraft
to support the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM).

Part of NASA's overall Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), this mission will
use a number of important technologies to prepare for an early human exploration
mission in deep space -- specifically, the area around the moon known
as cislunar space. The robotic mission also will provide the first large-scale
asteroid samples on which to conduct research and analysis for better
understanding of the composition and nature of these primordial planetary
bodies, leading to future use of in-situ resources from asteroids. The
mission both uses and expands NASA?s ability to detect, characterize and
mitigate the threat these space rocks pose to our home planet. The highest
priority of ARM is to affordably demonstrate and prove new capabilities
needed for future human missions to Mars.

"We're eager to hear from American companies on their ideas for a spacecraft
design that could accommodate our advanced solar electric propulsion requirements
and robotic technologies," said NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot.
"We're also interested in what sorts of innovative commercial, international
and academic partnerships opportunities might be practical and help reduce
overall mission costs while still demonstrating the technologies we need
for our journey to Mars."

NASA's ARRM is being formulated to perform a number of technology demonstrations
needed for the agency's journey to Mars, including the use of a 20-fold
improvement in state-of-the-art deep space solar electric propulsion capability
to move and maneuver multi-ton objects. The objective of the robotic segment
of ARM is to acquire a multi-ton boulder from a large asteroid and redirect
it to a crew-accessible orbit around our moon, setting the stage for future
integrated crewed and robotic vehicle operations in deep space.

NASA's ARRM spacecraft will need to be able to demonstrate support of
high power solar electric propulsion, with initial solar array power of
approximately 50 kilowatts. The robotics capture system planned aboard
the pioneering vehicle will be capable of acquiring a 20 ton (or larger)
boulder of up to about 19 feet (six meters) in width from an asteroid's
surface and then returning it to an astronaut-accessible orbit near our
moon. The spacecraft is being formulated to fit atop a variety of launch
vehicles -- NASA's Space Launch System or a commercially provided rocket.
The spacecraft will need to be ready for launch by the end of 2020.

While at a large asteroid, the spacecraft will demonstrate a "slow-push"
planetary defense asteroid deflection technique during the mission. This
uses the spacecraft and boulder's combined gravitational pull to attempt
to change the course of an asteroid.

ARM brings together the best of NASA's science, technology and human exploration
efforts to accomplish several important objectives that are critical elements
during our journey to Mars.

Redirecting and "parking" a large asteroid boulder within reach of human
and robotic explorers also will provide American commercial enterprises
their first opportunities to investigate the viability of mining asteroids
for precious metals and other resources.

NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission and the robotic component of the overall
mission will be the topic of an online Adobe Connect community update
on Friday, Oct. 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT. During the update, NASA
leaders will share recent developments for the Asteroid Redirect Mission,
including the recent spacecraft design study solicitation and the selection
of the mission's Formulation Assessment and Support Team members. The
Adobe Connect meeting is open to the public. Access to the online session
will be available a few minutes before the start of the update at:


More information about NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission and the agency's
Asteroid Initiative is available online at:



David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington
david.steitz at nasa.gov
Received on Thu 22 Oct 2015 07:45:01 PM PDT

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