by Nicole QuenelleNASA’s Flight Opportunities Program
NASA has selected 31 promising space technologies for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems. By exposing the innovations to many of the rigors and characteristics of spaceflight – without the expense of an orbital flight – NASA can help ensure these technologies work correctly when they are deployed on future missions.
“By supporting suborbital flight testing, our Flight Opportunities program aims to help ensure that these innovations are well-positioned to address challenges and enable NASA to achieve its lunar ambitions, while also contributing to a growing and vibrant commercial space industry,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The Flight Opportunities program is part of STMD.
As part of the latest cohort of selections under NASA’s 2020 Tech Flights solicitation, the organizations developing the selected technologies will receive a grant or collaborative agreement allowing them to purchase flights from a U.S. commercial flight vendor that best meets their needs – a process that can help shorten the timeline for bringing innovation from lab-based testing to flight. This year, the solicitation included for the first time the option for researchers from industry and academia to accompany ...