2022 Should See Start of Technology Demos Leading to High Resolution Exoplanet Imaging

A NASA NIAC Phase III is developing and plans to fly a 2022 TDM (Technology Demonstration Mission) to prove the SGLF’s (Solar Gravitational Lens Focus) mission architecture. They will then prepare a near-term (by 2024), low-cost (less than $40M) mission to fly through the solar system faster than any spacecraft ever ~7 AU/year, capable of …

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Cycler Satellites Will Shuttle Petabits of Info from Deep Space Missions

The Solar System Pony Express is a global, multi-spectral, high-resolution planetary surveyor supported by regular visits from a cycler satellite network to retrieve petabits of data for transit to Earth. The “courier” satellites use optical communications to receive 1-3 petabits from the surveyor at least once per year. They then travel close to earth where …

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Kilometer Structure from One SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch

University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon researchers have a NASA NIAC study into kilometer size structures deployable from a single SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. They are using flexible materials which would be able to expand to 150 times their packed size. They have made tiny prototypes of the planned materials and structures. They have modeled …

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Rocket Labs, Berkeley and NASA Mars ESCAPADE Mission in 2024

Rocket Labs will launch a NASA mission to Mars. The Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission will orbit two Rocket Lab-built Photon spacecraft around Mars to understand the structure, composition, variability, and dynamics of Mars’ unique hybrid magnetosphere. The mission will also support crewed exploration programs like Artemis through improved solar storm …

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SpaceX Will Launch NASA Europa Clipper Mission

The Europa Clipper mission will launch in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The total contract award amount for launch services is approximately $178 million. Above – This illustration, updated in December 2020, depicts NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft. With an internal global ocean …

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