Space

Calling all space tech

NASA logo

The space technology team at NASA issued a small barrage of requests May 21 to the private sector, with a simple message: Let us invest in your tech.

Three major initiatives, with a combined potential value of more than $50 million, seek to advance early stage space tech in public-private partnerships.

Pushing past industry’s ‘Tipping Point’

Through its "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies" solicitation, NASA seeks to give the final boost to developing technologies that are nearly market-ready.

Technologies sought are those that furnish:

  • Robotic, in-space manufacturing and assembly of spacecraft and space structures.
  • Low size, weight and power instruments for remote sensing applications.
  • Small spacecraft attitude determination and control sensors and actuators.
  • Small spacecraft propulsion systems.

Tipping point solicitation submissions are due July 23, with funding occurring through fixed-price contracts with milestone payments and a minimum 25 percent corporate or customer contribution.

Through its "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Emerging Space Technology System Capabilities" solicitation, NASA hopes to speed up the development of emerging technologies in the private sector by providing tech expertise, testing facilities and other support.

The partnership solicitation seeks such technologies as:

  • Suborbital reusable and small satellite launch systems development.
  • Wireless power transfer development.
  • Thermal protection system materials and systems development.
  • Green propellant thruster technology qualification.
  • Small, affordable, high performance liquid rocket engine development.

Partnership solicitation submissions are due July 30, with awards coming in the form of non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements.

Between the two industry-targeted solicitations, NASA plans to select roughly 20 proposals and award values are slated to be a combined $50 million.

Seeking academia’s ‘Early Stage Innovations’

In a call for early-stage technology from American universities, NASA is seeking academic proposals for technology that could advance the exploration of the solar system.

"We are looking for innovative ideas where top researchers from U.S. universities can help solve the toughest space technology challenges as we look to begin our journey to pioneer our solar system," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Proposals can cover a wide range of technologies, from robotics to materials science.

Notices of intent to submit proposals are due June 12, and final proposals are due July 10, NASA said.

Awards are slated for the fall, with NASA intended to make a dozen awards with a total value of roughly $500,000.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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