NASA Announces New Partners for Deep Space Missions
In March of 2015, NASA announced the commercial and institutional companies which it intends on collaborating with for the agency’s future deep-space, high-exploration endeavors. The announcement was denoted the Broad Agency Announcement and is part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP
) programs. The selected companies include: Ad Astra Rocket, Aeroject Rocketdyne, MSNW, Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing
, Dynetics, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Orbital ATK, Orbital Technologies, and Morehead State University. The projects under this program will focus on advancing technology in the fields of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites. Ad Astra Rocket, Aeroject Rocketdyne, and MSNW will work to develop electric propulsion systems which utilize 50 to 300 kilowatts (current systems used by NASA only generate under 5 kilowatts). NASA will fund the companies with $400,000 to $3.5 million USD annually with a three year testing limit. The habitation systems program will involve Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Dynetics, Hamilton Sundstrand, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and Orbital Technologies. The companies will work towards developing the Orion capsule, an inhabitable vehicle capable of sustaining a crew beyond low-earth orbit for up to 21 days. This project intends to increase the time the capsule can spend in space to up to 60 days and eventually long enough for interplanetary travel. NASA has allocated $400,000 to $ 1 million USD for this program. The final program is the CubeSat project, which are miniature satellites (a cube of 10 cm) used for secondary research investigations. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Morehead State University, these CubeSats will be launched on the first flight of the Space Launch System. The space agency has allocated $1.4 to $7.9 million for CubeSat projects. The NextSTEP initiative is part of a private/public collaboration to increase efficiency regarding costs, as well as increase innovation by working with private companies. The Broad Agency Announcement requesting submissions was released in October of 2014 and the agency collected proposals until December of 2014. Via our proprietary website Aviation Sourcing Solutions
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