In addition to testing a unique orbit for NASA’s Lunar Gateway, Colorado-based startup Advanced Space is preparing to demonstrate a new approach to lunar navigation.
As part of the Cislunar Autonomous System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission, scheduled to launch later this year on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket, Advanced Space plans to show how the CAPSTONE cubes can work with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. and peer-to-peer mobility.
NASA had partnered with Advanced Space of Boulder in Colorado in 2019 to develop a cube satellite that will launch into the same lunar orbit, targeting the site of the Moon Gate, which is set to be built like the International Space Station but in lunar orbit.
Advanced Space was one of three organizations in Colorado that NASA Administrator Bill Nelson introduced during a press conference at the 36th Space Symposium with genuine enthusiasm.
Nelson traveled to Colorado several times while serving as a senator from Florida. “But I didn’t realize there were 500 space-related companies here in Colorado,” Nelson said. “And I didn’t realize that a lot of important groundbreaking things were happening here.”
The Boulder-based company, Advanced Space, “will actually own and operate the NASA satellite,” said Bradley Cheetham, CEO and president of Advanced Space, CAPSTONE’s principal contractor.
California-based Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems is building a small 25-kilogram satellite with propulsion provided by another California company, Stellar Exploration. CAPSTONE plans to embark on its lunar course by riding the Photon rover at Rocket Lab after the Electron launch.
Another Colorado company with a role in NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program is Golden-based Lunar Outpost, a company that develops autonomous robots for exploring the surface of the Moon and Mars.
NASA plans to pay $1 for Lunar Outpost if the company succeeds in collecting a small amount of lunar regolith, verifying the collection and transferring ownership to NASA. Nelson gave Lunar Outpost CEO Justin Cyrus a progressive boost during the August 23 conference.
“This is the first push in human history for a space resource contract,” Cyrus said. “This sets up a legal and procedural framework that will be used for generations and decades to come for companies like ours and many others to go out and collect resources from the surface of the Moon, from other planets and make them fundamentally beneficial to humanity.”
Lunar Outpost is preparing to send a small robotic rover to the moon’s south pole in 2022 on a robotic lander. Cyrus said the mission will enjoy high-bandwidth communications between the rover and the probe, as well as return to Earth thanks to Nokia LTE 4G technologies.
BioServe Space Technologies, the third Colorado organization introduced by Nelson, is part of Smead’s Department of Space Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
In addition to discussing the cancer research that BioServe is conducting at the US National Laboratory of the International Space Station, Luis Zia, BioServe Implementation Project Director, highlighted his organization’s workforce training initiatives.
“We are helping to prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists because they are involved not only in the development of payload and hardware, but also in the procedures that the crew uses to conduct these experiments, the operations, the actual science that we do at Zia,” Zia said.
“Proud twitter enthusiast. Introvert. Hardcore alcohol junkie. Lifelong food specialist. Internet guru.”