Several competing unmanned aerial vehicle missions are likely to be proposed for flight on Mars in NASA’s next Scout competition, according to Andy Gonzales, program manager for NASA Ames Research Center’s MATADOR project. Set to begin in roughly a year, the next Mars Scout competition will select one or more missions for launch to Mars in 2011. If upcoming flight-tests of MATADOR (Mars Advanced Technology Airplane for Deployment, Operations, and Recovery) are successful, the team may propose a mission, according to Gonzales. “We’re hopeful that the [Mars] airplane’s time has finally come.”
Multiple Mars UAV Proposals Likely In Next Scout Competition Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
Budget Cuts Would Severely Hinder Exploration, O’Keefe Says Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
The cuts to NASA’s fiscal year 2005 budget request contained in the House Appropriations Committee’s NASA spending bill effectively would halt the agency’s plans to develop a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) and achieve new breakthroughs in in-space propulsion, according to Administrator Sean O’Keefe. “We can’t do this at the levels that they’ve contemplated,” O’Keefe told Senate lawmakers at a Sept. 8, 2004 hearing.
NASA’s Mars Rovers Moving Into More Aggressive Terrain Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), which have spent nearly double their scheduled mission time on Mars, still are performing well as they prepare to enter even more challenging territory, according to NASA. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers “are both still in very good health, but we’re approaching more aggressive terrain at both sites, which [is] going to require more planning and more thought,” Chris Voorhees, rover engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said at a press conference June 25. The rovers also are getting less power as the days get shorter and their solar panels accumulate dust. The rovers landed on Mars in January.