[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
84°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 16
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
Sarah Gifford


| Friday, Jul 19, 2019
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 moon mission in July 1969. | Photo: NASA/Neil Armstrong.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11 moon mission in July 1969. | Photo: NASA/Neil Armstrong.

 

HOUSTON — Fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, the world stopped to watch in awe as Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon. The semi-centennial has rekindled NASA’s interplanetary ambitions. Tapping into a vibrant U.S. space industry, it’s eyeing the moon as a stepping stone to Mars.

After launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11spacecraft, propelled by a series of three rockets, traveled at 25 times the speed of sound, and covered the 238,900 miles to the moon in about three days.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first of only 12 people, all NASA astronauts, ever to walk on the moon’s dusty, cratered surface, just over 2% of the 550 people who have reached space since Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin first did so in 1961.

Armstrong’s famous radio message back to Mission Control at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” culminated eight years of work by more than 300,000 technicians.

The feat cost $25 billion and fulfilled the goal of getting a man to the moon within the decade, which President John F. Kennedy laid out in 1961, prompted by Cold War fears that the Soviet Union would surpass America in space.

NASA’s lunar missions ended in the early 1970s as federal funding fell off amid a move by Congress away from big government projects, to a more fiscally conservative approach that favored partnerships with the private sector.

But U.S. space ambitions have revved up in recent years, fueled by tech billionaires Elon Musk’s and Jeff Bezos’ rival rocket companies, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Blue Origin LLC.

President Donald Trump signed a directive in December 2017 calling for NASA to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and establish a base there.

Though Trump dedicated $1.6 billion to NASA in May this year for its new Artemis moon missions, and the agency is set to receive $21 billion in federal funding for 2020, it has contracted with a private company to build a centerpiece.

NASA accepted a $375 million bid from Maxar Technologies of Colorado to build a power and propulsion component of a spacecraft NASA has dubbed Gateway, which will take shape like a giant floating Lego set.

“Imagine the Power Propulsion Element as the engine of a car,” Mike Gold, a Maxar vice president, said in an email to Courthouse News. “It will provide power, maneuvering to get the astronauts closer to the surface of the moon, and communications to Earth and other systems in lunar orbit or on the surface of the moon.”

NASA plans to dock a small astronaut quarters to it by 2024. The living space will be built by other countries’ space programs and private companies adding modules and hardware, just as Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States constructed the International Space Station.

The propulsion element and Gateway will be powered by a solar electric system, a system Gold said took decades and 100,000 work hours to perfect and is essential for any mission to Mars.

Maxar is to test launch in late 2022 and NASA has the option of buying it or not. It’s designed to operate for at least 15 years, Gold said.

Maxar’s history with NASA goes back to Apollo’s roots. It built the agency’s Mission Control Center and supplied instruments Aldrin installed on the moon, Gold said.

While few companies can boast of such a track record, the semi-centennial finds the U.S. space exploration industry in full bloom. Dozens of startups are competing to help NASA construct a lunar human habitat and to build a launch platform for deep-space missions.

With some describing the moon as the “Eighth Continent,” they are building robots and 3D printers to construct lunar buildings, designing lasers to melt moon dust into building materials and landers to explore its south pole, where NASA plans to land astronauts, including the first woman on the moon, for its Artemis mission.

The United States is not the only world power vying for lunar real estate.

China has a rival program. Named for the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e, its missions started in 2007.

China in January became the first country to land a spacecraft on the moon’s dark side. It was loaded with radiation and water-detecting devices built by Swedish, Dutch, German and Saudi Arabian scientists.

The moon is a magnet for multinational collaboration.

A 2008 spacecraft launch by India’s space agency collected data that led to the discovery of ice packed in shadowed craters on the moon’s southern pole, which never get warmer than -250 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA hopes to extract the ice and convert it into oxygen for humans and hydrogen fuel for a rocket launch to Mars. Commercial space firms are researching how to do this.

China also aims to build a lunar outpost on the south pole for exploration missions.

Vice President Mike Pence sees China as a threat to U.S. space supremacy. Some experts believe China will beat NASA back to the moon, and the next message from its surface will be spoken in Mandarin.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re in a space race today, just as we were in the 1960s, and the stakes are even higher,” Pence said in March.

With its headquarters 2 miles from the Johnson Space Center, Intuitive Machines is one of

It plans to transport its first lander, capable of carrying 330 pounds, on a SpaceX rocket, its vice president of aerospace services Trent Martin said in an email.

“Our first mission includes five NASA payloads, one commercial payload, and one academic payload. Each payload is performing specific scientific or engineering technology demonstration missions,” Martin said.

Though the company has many former NASA employees on its payroll, none of them worked on the Apollo missions. But Martin said they all have collaborated with Apollo-era NASA technicians and astronauts.

“It was their pioneering spirit that allows us to even attempt to perform a feat previously relegated only to governments of superpowers,” he said.

— By Cameron Langford and James Palmer

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
Water Main Break Shuts Down Eastbound Newhall Ranch Road
A water main break in Valencia caused lane closures and traffic delays as crews work to stop water from spilling onto the streets Wednesday.
Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
Saddleridge Blaze 46% Contained, Forest Service Closes Fire Area
The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Saddleridge Fire area in the Angeles National Forest for the safety of the public and fire suppression personnel, officials said Wednesday.
Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
Water Heads Find Groundwater Advisers, Still Accepting Applications
SCV Water officials hammering out a plan to manage groundwater are still accepting applications for the agency’s seven-member advisory group.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion by Board Chair Janice Hahn and Supervisor Hilda Solis to assess and address the specific needs of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals experiencing homelessness in the county.
County to Assess American Indian, Alaska Native Homelessness
A water main break in Valencia caused lane closures and traffic delays as crews work to stop water from spilling onto the streets Wednesday.
Water Main Break Shuts Down Eastbound Newhall Ranch Road
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to provide recommendations for how to modify county ordinances to grant the Sheriff's Civilian Oversight Commission subpoena power through the Office of Inspector General.
Supes Seek Subpoena Power for Oversight of Sheriff’s Department
AVITA Medical, a regenerative medicine company with a technology platform positioned to address unmet medical needs in therapeutic skin restoration, announced that its American Depositary Shares (“ADS”) have been approved to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market, or Nasdaq.
AVITA Medical Now Listed on Nasdaq
Thirty-two features have been submitted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 92nd Academy Awards.
32 Animated Features to Vie for 2019 Oscar
The deadline for poets to submit poems for the city of Santa Clarita's 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Project is Thursday, Oct. 31.
Oct. 31: Deadline to Submit Poems for 2020 Sidewalk Poetry Project
For the first time since the Santa Clarita-based firm was founded in 1998, a third partner’s name is becoming part of the official name of the firm as Poole & Shaffery becomes Poole Shaffery & Koegle, LLP.
Poole & Shaffrey Add Partner Koegle to Law Firm’s Name
As part of the 26th Annual National Public Lands Day, Saddleback Butte State Park is leading a habitat cleanup on Saturday, October 26 from 8 a.m. to noon, and officials invite local residents to pitch in.
Oct. 26: Saddleback Butte Cleanup on National Public Lands Day
The William S. Hart Union High School District’s governing board is set to discuss a letter addressing allegations of an open-meeting law violation with respect to its recent search for a new superintendent.
Hart District to Discuss Letter on Superintendent Search, Transparency
The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Saddleridge Fire area in the Angeles National Forest for the safety of the public and fire suppression personnel, officials said Wednesday.
Saddleridge Blaze 46% Contained, Forest Service Closes Fire Area
Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean joined other local officials from across the Southland to commemorate the signing of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan in Arcadia on Thursday, October 10.
McLean, Officials Meet to Sign San Gabriel Mountains Monument Plan
SCV Water officials hammering out a plan to manage groundwater are still accepting applications for the agency’s seven-member advisory group.
Water Heads Find Groundwater Advisers, Still Accepting Applications
SCV Water and its water-banking partners, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District and Irvine Ranch Water District, recently opened six new groundwater wells and a conveyance system to the Cross Valley Canal in Kern County.
SCV Water, Partners Add 6 Wells in Kern County
Through a $700,000 federal grant, the California Highway Patrol has developed the Get Educated and Ride Safe II campaign, or GEARS II, to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
CHP Wins $700K Grant for GEARS Motorcycle Safety Program
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Los Angeles County-sponsored Assembly Bill 539 into law on Thursday, taking a major step in protecting borrowers from predatory high-cost loans.
Californians Gain Protections from Predatory Loans
Recognizing California’s fiscal health, Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded California’s outstanding general obligation bonds credit rating to Aa2 from Aa3.
Moody’s Upgrades California’s Credit Rating
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
Sarah Gifford
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Oct. 16: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer Sachi A. Hamai announced she will retire as top administrative leader of the nation’s largest municipal government in early 2020, capping a 31-year career leading innovation and managing solutions to some of the region’s most challenging issues.
County CEO Caps 31-Year Career; Announces 2020 Retirement
Valencia-based Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, is pleased to announce that Lief’s rank has risen to 1,022 on the Inc. 5000 definitive ranking of America’s fastest-growing, privately held companies.
Lief Labs Joins List of America’s Fastest-Growing, Privately Held Companies
The community is invited to The Ranch at Fair Oaks for a fall yard sale.
Nov. 2: Fair Oaks Community Association Fall Yard Sale
The city of Santa Clarita will host the Great California ShakeOut earthquake drill at City facilities on Thursday, Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m. to help train community members on how to properly drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake.
Residents Encouraged to Participate in Great California ShakeOut
For the second time in as many years, The Master's University women's swim team wasted no time qualifying a pair of relays for NAIA nationals.
Lady Mustangs Swim Team Qualifies for Nationals
SAN DIMAS - College of the Canyons remained undefeated on the season while winning its 15th straight Western State Conference (WSC) tourney with a four-player score of 316 at San Dimas Canyon Golf Course on Monday.
Lady Cougars Win 15th Straight Western State Conference Tourney
%d bloggers like this: