AeroTel, a 1-meter telescope, serves as the sensor testbed for Prime Focus.

As more nations and commercial entities develop advanced space capabilities, strengthening Space Domain Awareness (SDA) becomes increasingly critical. U.S. space operators need to be cognizant of everything operating in both Earth’s orbit and beyond. Integrating and streamlining information across the space enterprise is crucial in advancing that effort. Currently, data…

Besides unveiling new information, the telescope will build upon and complement discoveries made by its predecessor, the renowned Hubble Space Telescope. Over its lifetime on the ground, the Webb mission has engaged a team of various space stakeholders. …

STATE OF PLAY

Image courtesy NASA/Ames Research Center

Generally, rockets go to space to place satellites with a payload, like a camera or radio, for observation or communication. Around they year 2000, it became increasingly easy to make small, inexpensive satellites to rideshare into space as part of a larger satellite launch.

Companies were dreaming of constellations of…

The Regishell concept proposes inflatable human habitat structures that can be inflated on-site, then rigidized using abundant local regolith as a construction material.

Advancing space exploration capabilities has long been an area of intense interest to human civilization, not only for the potential to improve conditions on Earth but also to better understand the mysteries of the universe.

Human settlement of the Moon and Mars presents numerous practical and logistical challenges. In addition…

STRATEGIC FORESIGHTING

The Space Futures Map, aka The Pathfinder’s Guide to the Space Enterprise, illustrates seven core themes in present day and proposed future developments, and the potential scenarios arising between them.

The space enterprise is in a state of great transformation. Fully commercial human spaceflight missions, the emerging potential of a multitrillion dollar space economy, and promises of humans returning to the moon are driving opportunities and challenges for humanity.

Our increasingly interconnected world is leading to new behaviors and new…

STATE OF PLAY

Artist’s concept of the Restore-L (now OSAM-1) servicer extending its robotic arm to grasp and refuel a client satellite on orbit. Image Credit: NASA

On-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (OSAM) refers to the use of refuelers and space tugs for on-orbit maneuvering and refueling. Several companies are now competing in the trade space of these exciting missions in the U.S. and European marketplace.

Key Technologies and Developments

U.S. Government

From the U.S. government side, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has…

The CarbonWatch instrument sensors can measure CO2 and CO signals independent from sunlight, using a simplified, replicable architecture and an onboard processing system.

The five percent of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans attributable to human activity has disrupted the Earth’s natural carbon cycle and is driving long-term climate change. …

The Lucy spacecraft passing one of the Trojan Asteroids near Jupiter. Artist illustration courtesy Southwest Research Institute / NASA.

On Saturday, a ULA Atlas V rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, a mission with the potential to transform our current knowledge of the solar system and planetary origins.

During its 12-year journey, Lucy will gather valuable insights by studying seven Trojans and one main…

During re-entry, NASA’s Orion crew module will generate temperatures hot enough to melt rock.

If all goes according to plan, NASA’s Orion space capsule will transport its first crew of astronauts to the moon by 2024. When it comes screeching back through Earth’s atmosphere, it will generate temperatures hot enough to melt rock. To protect the capsule and its inhabitants, Orion is equipped with…

The Aerospace Corporation

We operate the only federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) committed exclusively to the space enterprise.

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