NASA’s Asteroid Mission Captures Industry Ideas

By Mark Carreau
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
December 09, 2013

Outside experts are responding to NASA's call to lasso an asteroid, providing the agency's Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) planners with new momentum for the two-phase strategy to resume U.S. human deep-space exploration while demonstrating capabilities to find and deflect asteroids that pose an impact threat to Earth.

NASA's 2014 budget plans include $105 million to ramp up a notional scheme for the 2018 launch of a robotic spacecraft that would corral a yet-to-be-selected asteroid in the 5-10-meter (16.5-33-ft.), 500-metric-ton range. Once captured, the asteroid would be maneuvered into a distant, stable, retrograde orbit around the Moon. Astronauts launched on the first piloted test flight of the Orion/Space Launch System crew exploration vehicle/heavy-lift rocket combination would rendezvous with the asteroid over a three-week mission, perhaps as early as 2021.

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