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TechCrunch Space: Happy Eclipse Day!

Hello everyone, welcome back to TechCrunch Space. Happy Eclipse Day everyone! I’m lucky enough to live in a part of the country that’s on the path to totality, so I’ll be spending most of today away from my desk and soaking in it all.

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NASA has given three space companies the chance to design the next generation of lunar rovers, but only one design will make it to space. Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost and Venturi Astrolab are developing rugged vehicles for astronauts to drive on the lunar surface, which could be selected by NASA as early as next year.

The three teams will now enter a 12-month “feasibility phase” that will culminate with a preliminary design review. A competitive request for proposals will follow at that time, with three companies vying for the demonstration task order. At that time, the final winner will be selected. The selected company will not only be responsible for designing the Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV), but also for launching and landing it on the Moon ahead of the Artemis V mission, which is currently expected to take place no earlier than 2029.

Image Source: Intuitive machine

Video obtained by TechCrunch shows Astra’s Rocket 3.0 meeting a disastrous end during pre-release testing in March 2020.

The explosion at the Pacific Spaceport complex in Alaska was reported at the time simply as an “anomaly,” an industry term that refers to virtually any problem that deviates from expected results.

Image Source: TechCrunch

Blue Origin has announced the crew for the next New Shepard launch, and 90-year-old Ed Dwight is also on the list. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t recognize the name, but this story on GeekWire helps fill in the missing pieces of his story and its significance to human spaceflight history.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961. NASA said: “His spacecraft Vostok 1 orbited the Earth at a speed of 27,400 kilometers per hour, and the flight lasted 108 minutes. Vostok’s reentry was computer-controlled. Unlike the United States’ early manned spaceflight programs, Garga Lin did not land in the capsule. Instead, he ejected from the spacecraft and landed via parachute.”

On April 12, 1961, Gagarin was on his way to the Vostok 1 launch site. Image Source: Sovfoto/Universal Images Group (via Getty Images)

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