17 August 2016 News

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Review Complete

The Asteroid Redirect Vehicle, part of NASA's Asteroid Initiative concept, is shown traveling to lunar orbit using its solar electric propulsion system in this artist's concept. Image credit: NASA
The Asteroid Redirect Vehicle, part of NASA's Asteroid Initiative concept, is shown traveling to lunar orbit using its solar electric propulsion system in this artist's concept. Image credit: NASA

Although the mission's cost has increased by a hefty $150 million, NASA had approved and completed a review of Key Decision Point B (KDP-B), the Asteroid Redirect Mission's robotic segment. As a result of the review, the mission cost has been increased and the robotic mission launch date has been postponed by a year, with the mission currently scheduled for 2021. Total mission cost estimate, set at $1.4 billion, does not include launch or operations costs.

NASA-ARM-2.jpg

Asteroid Capture Microspine grippers on the end of the robotics arms are used to grasp and secure the boulder. The microspines use thousands of small spines to dig into the boulder and create a strong grip. An integrated drill will be used to provide final anchoring of the boulder to the capture mechanism. Credit: NASA artist’s concept

The Asteroid Redirect Mission is expected to send a robotic spacecraft to an asteroid in near-earth space. The spacecraft will retrieve a boulder of a few meters in diameter from the asteroid and bring it to cislunar space. An manned Orion mission, planned for 2026, will then visit the boulder for research purposes. The mission will also help gain invaluable experience for future manned Mars missions.

According to Michele Gates, ARM program manager at NASA, “With KDP-B under our belt, ARM can now move forward to define partnerships and opportunities for long-term engagement.” NASA will be seeking partnerships for hosted payloads to fly with the ARM robotic spacecraft, and looking for scientists to join the mission's “investigation team”. The release of these two solicitations has been delayed along with the mission, as they were originally planned for release in early August and have now been moved to September.

Popular articles

Popular articles

NanoSail-D2 was a small satellite which was used by NASA to study the deployment of a solar sail in space. It was a three-unit CubeSat measuring 30 x 10 x 10 cm. Astronautics

New oceans beckon for solar sail technology

MASTER II Robotic telescope on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, at the Teide Observatory at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. Space Security

Global robotic network for monitoring near-Earth and outer space

Students working on Hoopoe with Donald James (NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Education) and Avigdor Blasberger (Head of the Israel Space). Agency). Space Lounge

Israeli students inspired by nano-satellite projects