A little while ago, ULA’s Vulcan rocket launched on its maiden mission, formally designated as CERT-1. For the occasion, it was carrying Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine Moon lander, which separated from the rocket stage called Centaur after about 50 minutes. A capsule containing ashes of various famous people was also launched into a heliocentric orbit. The Centaur continued its mission with a few burns and cut-offs of its engine until it goes out of Earth orbit, scheduled after just under 4.5 hours from the launch.
Blogs about Blue Origin’s activities
Yesterday, Blue Origin conducted the second crewed flight of its New Shepard rocket, which included actor William Shatner, famous especially for playing James Kirk in the “Star Trek” saga. The rocket blasted off from the company’s spaceport in Van Horn, Texas, and after about 3 minutes the spacecraft named “RSS First Step” separated from the rocket and reached an altitude of about 107 kilometers, more than the 100 kilometers of the Kármán Line that officially marks the boundary with space. Both the single-stage rocket and the spacecraft are reusable, so both landed at the end of the flight.
A little while ago, Blue Origin conducted the first crewed flight, which included owner Jeff Bezos, of its New Shepard rocket. It blasted off from the company’s spaceport in Van Horn, Texas, and after about 3 minutes the spacecraft named “RSS First Step” separated from the rocket and reached an altitude of a little more than 106 kilometers, more than the 100 kilometers of the Kármán Line that officially marks the boundary with space. Both the single-stage rocket and the spacecraft are reusable, so both landed at the end of the flight.
NASA has announced the choice of three companies to design and develop human landing systems for the Artemis program. These are essentially plans for a lunar lander among which one will be selected to be built for the mission that, according to plans, is supposed to bring American astronauts back to the Moon by 2024. The companies selected are Blue Origin (actually the first contractor for a group called National Team), Dynetics, and SpaceX. This stage of development involves a 10-month base period during which companies and NASA will work together on the selected projects. The total contract value is $967 million.
NASA has announced the selection of five more companies within the program called Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). They’re added to the ones announced in November 2018 for a total of 14 companies that will be eligible to bid on proposals to provide services to send various types of cargoes to the Moon. They’re support services to the Artemis program which aims to send humans back to the Moon. There’s the well-known SpaceX, another company that already has contracts with NASA such as Sierra Nevada Corporation, an ambitious company that has yet to show what it can do such as Blue Origin and two lesser known companies such as Ceres Robotics and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc.