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The Next NASA Discovery Mission

7 Jul 2014, 13:09 UTC
The Next NASA Discovery Mission
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NASA has issued a draft Announcement of Opportunity for the next Discovery planetary science mission (PDF). There are a number of changes for this AO compared to previous ones for the Discovery program. The mission cost cap is now $450M. The following NASA-developed technologies can be included in mission proposals, with the technologies (and in some cases consulting) included as government furnished equipment.NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT)Heatshield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET)Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC)Light Weight Radio-isotope Heater Units (LWRHUS)Advanced Solar Arrays (ASA)Deep Space Atomic Clock (DSAC)Green PropellantAutonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT)There is also an incentive for using some of the technologies. For example, DSOC includes a $30M incentive. The proposal may also include demonstrations of technologies that are not on this list as long as they have the potential to apply to future NASA science missions, and as long as their failure would not cause failure of the science mission.There is also a 1% incentive for a student collaboration, which is a student-based addition to the mission such as an instrument or support software that requires the mission to take place, and whose failure would not compromise the main mission.There are numerous other changes in ...

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