Tag: NASA

13
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

NASA efforts had a $65 billion economic impact last year, agency report shows

NASA’s first economic impact report suggests that the agency generated nearly $65 billion in economic impact during fiscal year 2019, with much of that activity coming from the Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.



NASA's Space Launch System rocket, or SLS, is just one piece of the agency's "moon to Mars" initiative.


© Provided by Space
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, or SLS, is just one piece of the agency’s “moon to Mars” initiative.

The agency released the report (which covers the period between Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019) as it continues negotiations for its fiscal 2021 budget. That 2021 budget request by the Trump administration calls for a 12% increase for the agency to $25 billion, including a substantial contribution to Artemis for a planned 2024 astronaut landing on the moon. That budget has not been approved yet, as both the House and Senate continue markups of their versions of the bill. On Sept. 30, the Senate averted a government shutdown by passing a stopgap measure that will keep the government running until Dec. 11, according to The Hill.

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Related: Beacon of hope? NASA sees inspiration parallels between Apollo and Artemis moonshots

The new study, which you can read on NASA’s website, was conducted by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

“In this new era of human spaceflight, NASA is contributing to economies locally and nationally, fueling growth in industries that will define the future, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in America,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “With an investment of just one-half of 1% of the federal budget, NASA generates significant total economic output annually.”

The report estimates that NASA supported more than 312,000 jobs across the U.S., including 69,000 jobs in the agency’s “moon to Mars” initiative, which includes Artemis.

05
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Safety panel has “great concern” about NASA plans to test Moon mission software

Teams at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility move the Core Stage toward a barge in January that will carry it to a test stand in Mississippi.
Enlarge / Teams at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility move the Core Stage toward a barge in January that will carry it to a test stand in Mississippi.

NASA

An independent panel that assesses the safety of NASA activities has raised serious questions about the space agency’s plan to test flight software for its Moon missions.

During a Thursday meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, one of its members, former NASA Flight Director Paul Hill, outlined the panel’s concerns after speaking with managers for NASA’s first three Artemis missions. This includes a test flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Artemis I, and then human flights on the Artemis II and III missions.

Hill said the safety panel was apprehensive about the lack of “end-to-end” testing of the software and hardware used during these missions, from launch through landing. Such comprehensive testing ensures that the flight software is compatible across different vehicles and in a number of different environments, including the turbulence of launch and maneuvers in space.

“The panel has great concern about the end-to-end integrated test capability plans, especially for flight software,” Hill said. “There is no end-to-end integrated avionics and software test capability. Instead, multiple and separate labs, emulators, and simulations are being used to test subsets of the software.”

The safety panel also was struggling to understand why, apparently, NASA had not learned its lessons from the recent failed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, Hill said. (Boeing is also the primary contractor for the Space Launch System rocket’s core stage).

Prior to a test flight of the Starliner crew capsule in December 2019, Boeing did not run integrated, end-to-end tests for the mission that was supposed to dock with the International Space Station. Instead of running a software test that encompassed