Tuesday, May 12, 2015

VAMP: Northrop's Venus Aircraft Proposal for the Next New Frontiers Mission

Northrop Grumman is developing an inflatable, propeller-powered aircraft for a years-long cruise in the sulfurous skies of Venus and is gearing up to enter the concept in NASA’s next New Frontiers planetary science competition.

That Northrop believes its Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform, or VAMP, could be ready to compete for about $1 billion in NASA funding as soon as Oct. 1 is a testament to the company’s confidence in the concept, which despite arousing the intrigue of some Venus scientists is technically immature and likely to face competition from finalists of NASA’s last New Frontiers contest.

“I think we can be ready,” Ron Polidan, Northrop’s Redondo, California-based chief architect of civil systems, told SpaceNews.

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