NASA seeks proposals to develop capabilities for deep space exploration, journey to Mars

October 29, 2014 by Stephanie Schierholz, NASA

NASA is soliciting proposals for concept studies or technology development projects that will be necessary to enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and Mars.

Through a Broad Area Announcement (BAA) NASA released today, the agency seeks to use public-private partnerships to share funding to develop advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellite capabilities that will enable the pioneering of space. Public-private partnerships of this type help NASA stimulate the U.S. space industry while working to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capabilities and opportunities in space.

NASA intends to engage partners to help develop and build a set of sustainable, evolvable, multi-use space capabilities that will enable human pioneers to go to destinations. Developing capabilities in three key areas – advanced propulsion, habitation, and small satellites deployed from the Space Launch System – is critical to enabling the next step for human spaceflight. This work will use the proving ground of space around the moon to develop technologies and advance knowledge to expand human exploration into the solar system.

State-of-the-art solar electric propulsion technology currently employed by NASA generates less than five kilowatts. The Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) BAA selected proposals for concepts developing systems in the 40-kilowatt range. NASA now is seeking to advance the technology to 50- to 300-kilowatt systems to meet the needs of a variety of mission concepts.

Orion is the first component of human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and will be capable of sustaining a crew of four for 21 days in deep space and returning them safely to Earth. NASA seeks proposals for concept studies, technology investigation, and concepts of operations to enable extended space habitation as the next foundational cornerstone of a future deep space transit capability.

The studies will help define the architecture and subsystems of a modular habitation capability, which will be used to augment planned missions around the moon as well as to provide initial operations and testing in the proving ground for future systems in support of human exploration in deep space. Studies can address transportation, habitation, operations or environmental capabilities of a habitation system.

This BAA also provides for the selection of proposals for the development and delivery of small satellite missions that address strategic knowledge gaps for future . Selected small satellites, known as cubesats, will fly as secondary payload missions on Exploration Mission-1. The mission provides a rare opportunity to boost these cubesats to deep space and enable science, technology demonstration, exploration or commercial applications in that environment.

Through awards from this BAA, NASA's goal is to accomplish both near-term missions and sustained investments in technologies and capabilities to address the challenges of . Because capabilities and technologies developed through these awards will have significant potential commercial applications, NASA expects partners to contribute significant resources.

Explore further: NASA selects partners for U.S. commercial lander capabilities

More information: More information on the BAA can be found at: prod.nais.nasa.gov/cgibin/eps/ … sis.cgi?acqid=163051

For additional information on NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships BAA, visit: www.nasa.gov/nextstep

Related Stories

NASA selects nine space radiobiology research proposals

October 7, 2014

NASA's Human Research Program will fund nine proposals for ground-based research that will help enable extended and safer human exploration of space by quantifying and, ultimately, reducing the risks posed by space radiation.

NASA Advanced Technology Phase I concepts selected

June 6, 2014

NASA has selected 12 proposals, including three from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which aims to turn science fiction ...

Recommended for you

Brown dwarf detected in the CoRoT-20 system

July 16, 2018

An international group of astronomers has discovered a new substellar object in the planetary system CoRoT-20. The newly identified object was classified as a brown dwarf due to its mass, which is greater than that of the ...

'X'-ploring the Eagle Nebula and 'Pillars of Creation'

July 13, 2018

The Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16, contains the young star cluster NGC 6611. It also the site of the spectacular star-forming region known as the Pillars of Creation, which is located in the southern portion of the ...

Observatories team up to reveal rare double asteroid

July 13, 2018

New observations by three of the world's largest radio telescopes have revealed that an asteroid discovered last year is actually two objects, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in size, orbiting each other.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.