Press Release

NASA’s Next Steps to Mars Will Be on Langley Legs

By SpaceRef Editor
March 27, 2015
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NASA announced plans Wednesday for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), scheduled for the mid-2020s, that will include technology developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center.

For ARM, a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts. NASA Langley’s Contact and Restraint System (CRS) will provide the legs for the proposed mission spacecraft that will allow surface contact (landing), ascent (push off), and boulder restraint. Langley led the testing and assessment for the proposed spacecraft’s CRS.

ARM will test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space including Mars. NASA also announced it has increased the detection of near-Earth Asteroids by 65 percent since launching its asteroid initiative three years ago.

“This asteroid redirect mission – and the development of the necessary technologies to successfully complete it – is a crucial next step in NASA’s efforts to one day help humans safely reach Mars and return home,” said Dave Bowles, NASA Langley acting director. “We’re already involved in the development and testing of the Orion multi–purpose crew vehicle and space launch system, so we’re excited to have this opportunity to continue our contributions via the asteroid redirect mission.”

NASA plans to announce the specific asteroid selected for the mission no earlier than 2019, approximately a year before launching the ARM spacecraft. It will take approximately six years after capture to move the asteroid mass into lunar orbit. In the mid-2020s, NASA’s Orion spacecraft will launch on the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, carrying astronauts on a mission to rendezvous with and explore the asteroid mass. The current concept for the crewed mission component of ARM is a two-astronaut, 24-25 day mission.

For more information, visit the ARM website:

SpaceRef staff editor.