Sierra Nevada Corporation completes key step for NASA's NextSTEP-2 study
by Staff Writers
Sparks NV (SPX) Aug 16, 2018
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.
Flight Tests to Prove Commercial Systems Fit for Human Spaceflight
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Aug 03, 2018
The first test flights for new spacecraft designed by commercial companies in collaboration with NASA to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station from the United States are known as Demo-1 for SpaceX and Orbital Flight Test for Boeing. NASA's goal in collaborating with Boeing and SpaceX is to achieve safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from station on the companies' spacecraft. Both companies have matured their designs, are making significant progress throug ... read more
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