Companies with technologies that can push exploration but need a little extra boost to complete development have two new ways to work with NASA to make it across the finish line.
Through turning pointNASA seeks to support space technologies that can fuel the growth of commercial space capabilities and benefit future agency missions. NASA also offers companies the opportunity to work with agency experts or use facilities to complete their work through a separate office Collaboration Opportunity Announcement.
“NASA’s investment and support at this crucial stage of development may be key to ultimately bringing new technology to market,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Public-private partnerships built through these opportunities will combine agency resources with industry contributions, a benefit that will unlock new ideas to advance the way we live and work in space while delivering greater value to create for the American people.”
These opportunities are focused on technology development for space infrastructure and capabilities for the Moon and near-Earth space. Selected proposals for work on and near the moon could include infrastructure for power distribution on the lunar surface, solutions for exploiting lunar resources, or autonomous construction – key components for long-term lunar exploration artemis. NASA will also consider proposals for in-orbit infrastructure and capabilities — which could range from climate research instruments to in-space manufacturing to advanced propulsion.
“Building strong partnerships with the commercial space economy is critical to advancing our nation’s space exploration further and faster,” said Jim Reuter, deputy administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, which is managing the new opportunities. “I look forward to the new list of public-private partnerships that will result from these new opportunities.”
Under the Tipping Point opportunity, NASA will award a total of up to $200 million to multiple companies utilizing funded Space Act agreements. The opportunity also includes small business incentives that allow companies with fewer than 500 employees to contribute less to the cost of technology development.
“A funded Space Act agreement provides trading partners with more flexibility regarding intellectual property, private sector contributions and accounting requirements,” said LK Kubendran, STMD leader on Tipping Point and announcing a collaboration opportunity.
More than half a billion dollars have been awarded to 50 projects since NASA announced the first tipping point opportunity in 2015. Space technologies advanced through this funding are now part of current and future mission plans. They include:
• Maxar’s Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot aboard NASA’s On-Orbit Service, Assembly and Manufacturing Mission-1 will demonstrate assembly in space to form a communications antenna OSAM-1‘s launch
• Tethers Unlimited’s Hydros engine flew on NASA’s first Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator CubeSat mission to demonstrate the use of Liquid water as fuel in space
• Two technologies will be onboard Intuitive Machines’ second flight to the moon under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative: Nokia of America Corporation’s Lunar LTE/4G communications system and Intuitive Machines’ hopper robot
The announcement of a collaboration opportunity allows companies to leverage NASA’s facilities and expertise to support technology development without financial support.
More information about NASA’s technology investments is available online.
The deadline for submitting initial proposals is March 31, 2022. Companies interested in submitting proposals can also visit an industry Information session on February 28th.
Find out more and apply to the new opportunities here.