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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2022 – NASA is offering up to $200 million to assist in the development of new space technologies. Companies with technologies that may advance exploration but need a little extra push to finalize development have two new opportunities to partner with NASA to make it over the finish line.

Through Tipping Point, NASA seeks to support space technologies that can foster the growth of commercial space capabilities and benefit future agency missions. NASA is also offering businesses a chance to work with agency experts or use facilities to complete their work through a separate Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.

“NASA’s investment and support at this pivotal stage in development can be the key to ultimately bringing new technologies to market,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Public-private partnerships established through these opportunities will combine agency resources with industry contributions, a benefit that will unlock new ideas to advance how we live and work in space while providing greater value to the American people.”

These prospects are centered on space infrastructure and capability development for the Moon and near-Earth orbit. Infrastructure for power distribution on the lunar surface, ways for utilising lunar resources, and autonomous construction are among the concepts for long-term lunar exploration under Artemis. NASA will also explore suggestions for infrastructure and capabilities in Earth orbit, which may include everything from climate research instruments to sophisticated propulsion and manufacturing.

“Forging strong partnerships with the commercial space economy is critical for driving our nation’s space exploration further and faster,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington, which manages the new opportunities. “I look forward to the new slate of public-private partnerships that will come from these new opportunities.” 

Using funded Space Act Agreements, NASA will award a total of up to $200 million to multiple companies under the Tipping Point opportunity. Small businesses will also benefit from the opportunity, which will allow companies with fewer than 500 employees to contribute less to the cost of technology development.

“A funded Space Act Agreement provides more flexibility for commercial partners in intellectual property, private sector contribution, and accounting requirements,” said LK Kubendran, STMD lead on Tipping Point and Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity.

Since NASA announced the first Tipping Point opportunity in 2015, more than half a billion dollars has been awarded to 50 projects. This funding has resulted in advancements in space technology that are now part of current and future mission plans. They are as follows:

  • Maxar’s Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot aboard NASA’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing Mission-1 mission will demonstrate in-space assembly to form a communications antenna following OSAM-1’s launch
  • Tethers Unlimited’s Hydros thruster 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 aboard the second Intuitive Machines 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 Collaboration Opportunity allows companies to use NASA facilities and expertise to aid in technology development without a monetary award.

More information about NASA’s technology investments is available online.

The deadline to submit initial proposals is March 31, 2022. Companies interested in submitting proposals can also attend an industry information session on Feb. 28. Details on the event are available online.

SOURCE NASA

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