. ASTROBOTIC will revolutionize the Moon

Note: Apollo 17 was the eleventh manned space mission in the NASA Apollo program. It was the first night launch of a U.S. human spaceflight and the sixth and final lunar landing mission. The mission was launched at 12:33 a.m. EST on December 7, 1972, and concluded on December 19 of the same year.

 
 

 

 

 
 

Astrobotic's Team and Project Members explain Technology's vision for commercial lunar exploration.

DHL - Official Logistics Provider for Astrobotic's will provide logistics services for the spacecraft and its customer payloads, making sure that all materials for the new lunar lander as well as the 'space freight' will arrive safe and on time to begin their journey to the Moon

The moon is a place that humans have speculated about from a far. Many have been intrigued by its mysterious presence in our solar system, but only a select few have had the chance to explore it. The team at Astrobotic are changing that. At Astrobotic, they send packages and robots to the moon for exploration, scientific, and marketing purposes. Now countries and companies have a “pathway” to the moon. Credit: HP

MOON'S US MISSIONS 

SHACKLETON ENERGY WANTS THE MOON'S RESOURCES

Shackleton Energy Fuel Depot. Credit: Boeing.

Private space companies are on the starting line to develop the Moon's resources. Some such as Shackleton Energy Company, have big and precise plans to do it.

MOON EXPRESS - Expanding the Earth's Economic and Social Sphere to the Moon

The Moon Express MX family of flexible, scalable robotic explorers are capable of reaching the Moon and other solar system destinations from Earth orbit. The MX spacecraft architecture supports multiple applications, including delivery of scientific and commercial payloads to the Moon at low cost using a rideshare model, to science expeditions to distant worlds. Credit: Moon Express - Published on 15 Jul 2017.

The "Evolution" of United Launch Alliance (ULA)

The New VULCAN

The development of the Vulcan booster, the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES), and the SMART Re-use concept enhances the current capabilities towards a single launch system. With the next generation in avionics and the advancements in Guidance, Navigation & Control (GN&C) systems, ULA has a new and more capable concept of  launch service.

Some other Countries interested by the Moon

 

Almost 50 years since man first walked on the lunar surface, the head of the European Space Agency explains his vision for living and working on the Moon. Johann-Dietrich Woerner believes the next giant leap for humankind could be an international collaboration of space faring nations in the form of a Moon village. This village would be a permanent lunar base for science, business, tourism or even mining. Credit: European Space Agency, ESA - Published on 22 Mar 2016.

*LUNAR CATALYST PARTNER*

 ASTROBOTIC WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THE  MOON

Astrobotic is contracting payloads to Trans-Lunar Insertion (TLI), Lunar Orbit, and Surface on the Moon at Lacus Mortis for its First Mission . 

Target Landing Site: Lacus Mortis, 45°N 25°E

Lacus Mortis is a basaltic plain in the northeastern region of the Moon. A plateau there serves as the target landing site.

Local Landing Time: 55-110 Hours After Sunrise
A Lunar day, from sunrise to sunset on the Moon, is equivalent to 354 Earth hours or approximately 14 Earth days.

Credit: ASTROBOTIC, Payload User Guide, Mission One

CHOOSE YOUR MISSION PARAMETERS & ESTIMATE YOUR COST!

Up to 300 kg payload mass can be delivered to the Lunar surface or to a specific orbit. It will cost $1.2M/kg for the landing on the surface, $2M/kg on the rover or, if a full custom mission is needed, the price varies between $110M to more than $150M. Payloads can be Scientific Instruments, Satellites & Rovers, Research & Development, Brand Promotion, DATA, Art, Social & Educational. It is possible to pay less for the mission if the Infrastructure is shared with other customers.

The lander PEREGRIME

ABOVE DECK

BELOW DECK

PEREGRINE ACCOMMODATES A WIDE RANGE OF PAYLOAD TYPES INCLUDING LUNAR SATELLITES, ROVERS, INSTRUMENTS, AND ARTIFACTS.

Mounting locations are available above and below the 4 aluminum lander decks, and include avionics and electronics. All the structure can be modified to accommodate payload with a weight of up to 265 kg. 

For Mission One (M1), the lander with a diameter of 2.5 m and a height of 1.9 m, will have a payload capacity of 35 kg and a dry mass of 290 kg.

A releasable clamp band mates the Peregrine to the launch vehicle and allows it to separate prior to its travel to the Moon. Also, the Peregrine recommends using a Hold Down and Release Mechanism (HDRM) to unfold every payload, when necessary.

Customers cannot use pyrotechnic, create excessive debris or impart shocks greater than 20 g's on the lander. 

With its Peregrine lander, Astrobotic provides power and power signal services to the electrical connector. However, customers are responsible for integrating the release mechanism into their payload designs and interfacing it correctly with these provided services.

LUNAR SERVICE FOR COMPANIES, GOVERNMENTS, UNIVERSITIES, NON-PROFITS, AND INDIVIDUALS.

Mission Configuration: https://www.astrobotic.com/configure-mission

The mission-target chosen can be a lunar orbit, a land on the Moon or a delivery by the rover to a specific location on the lunar surface. For the payload, details such as mass (kg) and size (mm) are needed as well as the length, the width, the height or height X diameter. For the lunar surface, the payload can be hosted on the lander, or deployed to the surface. Does the payload need Communication, Power and/or Thermal control? Finally, it is necessary to give a Name to the Mission and a short description.

An example of cost/kg: If a Band Promotion to be landing on the lunar surface is chosen , the cost will be $1.2M + $50K for theInitial Communication + $50K for the Initial Power. 

LUNAR ORBIT OR LUNAR SURFACE: $1,200,000 / kg - DELIVERY ON ROVER: $2,000,000 / kg

For every kilogram of payload, the Peregrine provides: 0.5 Watt of POWER (additional power can be purchased at $225,000 / W) and 2.8 kbps BANDWIDTH (additional bandwidth can be purchased at $30,000 / kbps).

Note: Limited bandwidth "heartbeat" data will be available throughout the cruise to the Moon.

NOTE: Payloads less than 1 kg may be subject to integration fees. And, if a payload is too expensive? The  MoonBox service on Astrobotic’s website, offers prices starting at $460.

On flight, the spacecraft stores energy with 28 Volts lithium-ion space-grade battery, which gives a capacity of 840 W/h. The power is distributed to all subsystems by the lander. The battery is used during engine burns and attitude maneuvers.

Also, the battery is charged by a solar array panel of 1.9 m2, giving 540 W of power. This solar array maintains operational surface activities.

The GaInP/GaAs/Ge triple junction material, WTJ solar cell, has been usedin orbital and deep space missions.

The Flight Computer used for missions is designed and developed by Astrobotic. It consists of a high-performance safety micro-controller with dual CPUs running in Lockstep for error and fault checking.

A rad-hard watchdog timer serves as an additional fault check and error prevention. The computer has been tested in radiation, temperature, shock, and vacuum conditions to ensure the functionality remains nominal for the longer projected mission timeline.

The primary flight computer performs all command and data handling of the spacecraft. It gathers input from the Navigation, and Control (GNC) flight sensors and issues corresponding commands to the propulsion control units. Additionally, it cooperates with the payload controller to ensure safe operation of the payloads throughout the mission.

Payload CPU Design: Xilinx Zync-7020; Clock Speed: 766 Mhz; Safety features: EDAC, TMR, Watchdogs

With the help of the solar array pointing towards the sun, the GNC Peregrine System can orients the spacecraft throughout all the mission. Specifically, some inputs received from the star tracker, sun sensors and the gyros, give the possibility to the spacecraft to make orbital and trajectory corrections maneuvers, if needed. Also, during the trip to the Moon, the Earth-based station gives the position and velocity states estimates to the spacecraft.

A radar altimeter provides velocity information to guide the spacecraft to maintain a 2.5 m/s powered descent and a landing of about 600 seconds. The radar altimeter used by Astrobotic is a flight software tested in the NASA TRICK/JEOD simulation suite.

On the left: The Honeywell radar altimeter array prototype

The PEREGRINE LUNAR LANDER supports operations with power services throughout the cruise to the Moon and on the lunar surface. The main power interface used is 0.5 Watt (W) / kg of payload with nominal power. The power line is regulated and switched at a Voltage in direct current (Vdc) of 28 +/- 0.5 and, to activate the release mechanism, the peak power signal for 60 s is 30 W.  

Astrobotic provides power services only via the electrical connector while the payload is attached to the lander. After the release from the lander, customers wanting to unfold their payloads will have to take full control of their own power consumption and generation system.

THE BANDWIDTH SERVICES

Nominal bandwidth services on the lunar surface as well as access to high-speed data premium communication services are provided by the Peregrine. Again, services are only available via the electrical connector while the payload is attached to the lander. However, the wireless bandwidth services will be provided only when operations are on the lunar surface.

The main features of the data interface are 2.8 kbps per kilogram of payload nominal bandwidth - a serial RS-422 wired communication using HDLC - an Ethernet high-speed data wired communication using TCP/IP - and, a 2.4 GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi radio wireless communication using TCP/IP.

FOR PARTICULAR MISSIONS, A TRANSPARENT LINK OF COMMUNICATION CAN BE PROVIDED BETWEEN THE CUSTOMER AND ITS PAYLOAD.

The Astrobotic Mission Control Center (AMCC) forwards customer commands and payload data between the individual Payload Mission Control Centers (PMCCs) and the SSC. In addition, Astrobotic will provide the payload customer with general spacecraft telemetry and health information.

Communication between the customer and its payload will nominally take approximately 3 seconds one-way.

Premium laser communication services will be directed through an alternate communication chain utilizing the Atlas Space Operations laser communications terminal on board the Peregrine Lunar Lander and ground stations on Earth.

ORBIT & DESCENT

Five engines, with 440 N thrust each, serve as the spacecraft’s main engines for all major maneuvers including trans-lunar injection, trajectory correction, lunar orbit insertion, and powered descent. Twelve thrusters, with

20 N thrust each, make up the Attitude Control System (ACS) to maintain spacecraft orientation throughout the mission. The system uses a MMH/MON-25 fuel and oxidizer combination.

The UNPOWERED DESCENT is between 100 km to 15 km. The Peregrine coasts after an orbit-lowering maneuver, using only attitude thrusters to maintain orientation.

The POWERED DESCENT is between 15 km to 2 km  - it begins when the main engines are pulsed continuously to slow down the Peregrine.

At the TERMINAL DESCENT, between 2 km to 300 m - the altimeter and star tracker inform the targeted guidance activity about the landing site point.

TERMINAL DESCENT NADIR - the Peregrine descends vertically from 300 m and decelerates to constant velocity at an altitude of 30 m until touchdown.

MISSION SUPPORT FOR SURFACE OPERATIONS

Following a successful touchdown, the operational mode for surface activities is activated on the Lunar Lander. At this moment, the excess of propellant is vented for safety, the craft communicates with the Earth-based platform and performs a system check.  With the power and communication provided to the payload for approximately 8 Earth days of lunar operations, any necessary system diagnostic checks and firmware or software updates can be done. The payload's customer charges its batteries with the power of the Lander. 

On-board radios allow the customer to power up its payload and go to mission mode. At this moment, a diagnostic check is done to verify the internal power sources and the wireless communication.  At the customer's request, Astrobotic can command its lander to send a release signal to the payload by its electrical connector.

The Peregrine discontinues all payload services andtransitions to hibernation mode before the onset of lunar night.

Source & Reference: Astrobotic User Guide & www.Astrobotic.com

THE GRIFFIN LANDER

GRIFFIN, a Lander of 4.5m X 1.6m. Credit: Astrobotic

Griffin gives a flexible path that can accommodate a variety of rovers and other payloads to support robotic missions like skylight exploration, sample return, regional prospecting, and polar volatile characterization.

For specific mission, autonomous landing uses cameras, IMU, and LIDAR to safely land Griffin within 100m of any targeted landing site you choose.

The lander have a Stout, stiff and simple aluminum frame for an easy integration of payload. Its main deck accommodates flexible payload mounting on a regular bolt pattern and four legs absorb shock and stabilize Griffin during touchdown on the Moon. To egress out the lander, the Rover uses deck-mounted ramps.

For customers' purposes, data are available about the qualification of the lander's structure for launch loads through vibration testing.

Specifically, Griffin's mechanical interface options accommodate a wide range of payload morphologies. Alternate mounting locations are available as a non-standard service.

The Lunar Mission will be provided by SPACE X on its Falcon 9. The vehicle can carry a 663 kg payload mass to TLI, 515 kg payload mass to lunar orbit and 270 kg payload mass to lunar surface.

Griffin has four tanks surrounding a main thruster, for a fuel mass of 1,685 kg. Four clusters of altitude control thrusters orient the craft. The main engine is concentric with the spacecraft central axis and performs capture, de-orbit, brake, and decent. Credit: Astrobotic

The Griffin lander uses off-the-shelf sensors and common algorithms for navigation during cruise and orbit. It determines position and altitude from radio time-of-flight, Doppler, sun sensor, star tracker, and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).

On approach to the Moon, Griffin switches to the Astrobotic Auto landing System, which uses proprietary techniques for precision navigation. Computer vision algorithms compare images from the lander's cameras with high- resolution NASA lunar surface images to determine the craft's position and altitude. As the craft is near the surface, it uses laser sensors to construct a 3D surface model of the landing zone. It detects slopes, rocks, and other hazards and autonomously maneuvers to a safe landing.

WHAT IS THE MOONBOX?

Through the Astrobotic first launch,  the company DHL will offer a service of delivery for anybody who wants to ship something to the Moon. This service is the  called MOONBOX.  

After the landing on the surface, MOONBOX™ participants will receive images and videos of the Moon Pod attached to the Astrobotic's lander. 

These photos will be the official record of your permanent commemoration on the Moon and can be shared with countless generations to come.

Wedding flower petal, Scout badge, Pet tag, Baby's fingerprint, Company logo, Heirloom ring, Signature, Family photo, Cufflinks, Sand from a favorite beach, Piece of a graduation tassel, Fraternity or sorority pin, Love note are  ITEMS SUGGESTED for the MOONBOX of DHL.

The First mission of ASTROBOTIC is to deliver payloads to the Moon for governments, companies, universities, non-profits organizations, and individuals.

For now, Astrobotic's Partnerships' Announcements are Agencia Espagnol Mexicana-AEM, Lunar Dream Time Capsule-Astroscale, Memorial Space Flight services-ELYSIUM Space, Lunar Rover Delivery-Google Lunar X Prize Official team, Mementos To The Moon-DHL MoonBox, Lunar Mission One, Lunar River Delivery-AngelicvM, Memory Of Mankind on the Moon-PULL Space Technologies & ATLAS Space Operations, Inc.

Astrobotic is an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST program, has 24 prior and ongoing NASA contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, a corporate sponsorship with DHL, 11 deals for its first mission to the Moon, and 130 customer payloads in the pipeline for upcoming missions. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.

Some other Countries interested by the Moon

Bigelow Aerospace & United Launch Alliance have an agreement to push for the creation of an orbiting Lunar Depot. Credit: Bigelow Aerospace - Published on  Oct. 17, 2017.

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The Skylab was a large single module habitat that provided about 555 m3 of habitable volume for about 49 metric tons (mt). This is similar to many modules on the ISS where 10 times the mass at 450 mt resulted in less habitable volume at 355 m3.

Credit: SLS Derived Concepts - "Habitat Concepts for Deep Space Exploration" by David Smitherman, NASA

Like oases in the desert, the Spaceports network presents outlines ofa pioneering, multi-purpose logistics network of safe havens, enabling human and robotic expansion into the hostile space environment. A spaceport is an infrastructure that provides services for space vehicles and facilitates their departure and arrival.

 

NASA and Private Space Companies elaborated a Crew Transportation System (CTS) to orbital destinations based on a Design Reference Missions (DRMs) framework. 

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, ISS, IN THEEARTH'S ORBIT

THE RAMA PROJECT'S AUTHORS THINK SO. 

Funded by NASA's NIAC program, the company Made in Space has completed its Phase I, named RAMA project. 

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