NASA has extended a unique opportunity to 12 companies to collaborate on vital technology developments that will advance the agency’s Moon to Mars objectives. The companies selected include Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Canopy Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Maxar, Phase Four, Psionic LLC, Roccor LLC (Redwire), Sierra Space, Stratolaunch, and Venturi Astrolab.
NASA has entered into unfunded Space Act Agreements with these companies, enabling them to have access to NASA’s exceptional facilities and technical expertise to directly support the development of crucial technologies.
These collaborations will lead to the development of a range of technologies, including metallic thermal protection systems, friction stir welding, thermoplastic composites, durable lunar rover tires, navigation Doppler lidar applications, and in-space manufacturing technologies. By working together, the companies will advance and enrich the technologies necessary for NASA‘s journey to Mars and beyond.
The goal of these collaborations is to achieve significant advancements, making it possible for humans to live and work on the Moon and eventually Mars. Acting as NASA’s partners, these companies are developing new technologies that will enhance commercial space capabilities.
Via this initiative, these companies will get an opportunity to access NASA’s over 60 years of experience in space exploration technology, including a vast range of technologies that have been developed by NASA’s scientists over the years.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, for instance, is developing a propulsion system that will help enable Mars missions. Blue Origin aims to develop the BE-7 lunar lander engine to reduce risks with a high-performance, yet low-cost solution. The Boeing Company is working on a modular space vehicle propulsion system that can be deployed in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner.
Canopy Aerospace, another stellar participant, is developing and perfecting a system that will enable access to space from remote regions. Lockheed Martin Corporation is advancing in-space manufacturing technologies for thermoplastic composites, while Maxar is developing solar power projects for Space Systems Loral. Phase Four is working on plasma propulsion technology that will help take humans to mars sooner with a smaller spacecraft.
Psionic LLC, through its use of Navigation Doppler Lidar, intends to create a system that will help in planning lunar missions, and Roccor LLC (Redwire) is working to make space flight safer by developing advanced materials.
Sierra Space is working on an inflatable habitat module that could be used on the Moon or Mars, while Stratolaunch is developing aircraft-inspired launch vehicles. Finally, Venturi Astrolab is working on a plan to develop durable lunar rover tires that will reduce the need for repair and replacements, thereby increasing operational efficiency on the Moon.
As NASA has no direct funding role or responsibility for these technologies, a Space Act Agreement is required, allowing them to establish and pursue unique public-private partnerships like these with commercial providers. Additionally, these collaborations contribute to the establishment of a sustainable American presence in space.
The collaboration’s key benefit is the opportunity to advance and streamline technology development while promoting beneficial public-private cooperation. These partnerships create significant opportunities for emerging and established companies to work directly with NASA to advance human exploration and science goals.
The proposed innovations are important to establish safe and successful exploration, as well as to create opportunities for sustained space operations. As we race towards Mars, there is a vital need to develop technologies that would help humans make this leap, and these collaborations are significant in that aspect.
In conclusion, the partnerships formed as a result of the unfunded Space Act Agreements between NASA and the 12 companies will stimulate the next generation of space exploration technologies, paving the way for vast space development and exploration in new and innovative ways. These will be stepping stones towards the next great leap for mankind, exploring and living on other worlds.