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NASA awards SpaceX contract modification for missions beyond Artemis III


SpaceX was awarded a NASA contract modification, Option B, to further develop its Starship human landing system to meet agency requirements for long-term human exploration of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, NASA said. According to the modification, SpaceX will conduct a second crewed landing demonstration in 2027 as part of the Artemis IV mission.

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Second Terran Orbital-developed lunar satellite LunIR launches successfully

Satellite-based solutions provider Terran Orbital, successfully launched Moon-mapping satellite, LunIR (Lunar Infrared Imaging). This is the second Terran Orbital-developed lunar satellite to launch this year after CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment). CAPSTONE entered a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit around the Moon just days ago after its launch in June. Both spacecraft support NASA’s Artemis program.

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NASA’s Artemis I mission successfully launches Orion to Moon

NASA successfully launched Artemis I, comprising its Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world, with the uncrewed Orion spacecraft aboard, which is on its way to cislunar orbit as part of the Artemis program, NASA said. During its 25.5-day space trip, Orion will travel approximately 64,000 km beyond the Moon before returning to Earth.

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CAPSTONE successfully enters NRHO around the Moon

The Terran Orbital-developed CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) spacecraft successfully arrived in a Near-Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO) around the Moon, the satellite product manufacturer said. The successful orbit insertion is the first step of the pathfinding lunar mission’s next phase.

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Canadensys Aerospace Awarded CSA Lunar Rover Contract

Canadensys Aerospace, a space systems company, has announced it has received a contract from the Canadian Government to design and build Canada’s first lunar rover. Initiated under the Canadian Space Agency’s Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP), the lunar rover will demonstrate key technologies for future lunar activity and accomplish meaningful lunar science.

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Apple launches Emergency SOS via satellite on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro

Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund invested US $450 million in critical infrastructure supporting Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 models in the US and Canada. The new service will be available later this month, making the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models capable of connecting to a satellite directly. The connection in turn, will allow for messaging emergency services even without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

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NASA and South Africa’s Space Agency Partner on LEGS

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) have renewed their partnership in lunar exploration with the groundbreaking of a new communications facility that will help the Artemis missions return humans to the Moon. The ceremony came after the signing of a Letter of Intent between NASA and the South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to formalize the space exploration partnership.

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