August 29, 2015 – In the early-2020s NASA plans to launch the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which will use a robotic spacecraft to capture a large boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars.
Throughout its mission, the ARM robotic spacecraft will test a number of capabilities needed for future human missions, including advanced Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP), a valuable capability that converts sunlight to electrical power through solar arrays and then uses the resulting power to propel charged atoms to move a spacecraft.
On July 7, 2015, NASA invited scientists, technologists, and other qualified and interested individuals to apply for membership on the Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST) for ARM. This call was open to all qualified and interested individuals (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) at U.S. institutions or representing themselves.
The application deadline was August 7, 2015 and 100 applications were received from highly qualified individuals representing academia, industry, NASA, non-profit research institutes, and other organizations.
On August 25, NASA announced the selection of 18 individuals to serve on the Asteroid Redirect Mission FAST. Members of the team will assist NASA in developing mission requirements, potential mission investigations, and developing a list of potential hosted payloads and partnerships.
The 18 member FAST team will include:
NASA also encourages constructive input from outside of the FAST. Send inputs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The final report of the ARM FAST will be submitted to NASA around November 20, 2015 and is expected to be publicly accessible and available for comment at that time. The FAST will make every effort to include inputs that are received in a timely manner.
The selection memorandum with a list of the selected FAST team members is posted online: ARM FAST Selection Memo