With the partnerships, says the agency, the NASA and industry teams will design a 3D printing system for NASA's Artemis lunar exploration program, test a simple method for removing dust from planetary solar arrays, mature a first-stage rocket recovery system for a small satellite launch provider, and more. Various NASA centers will work with the companies, ranging from small businesses and large aerospace companies to a previous NASA challenge winner, to provide expertise and access to the agency's unique testing facilities.
The partnerships, says the agency, aim to accelerate the development of emerging space capabilities.
"Space technology development doesn't happen in a vacuum," says Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), which made the selections and will manage the partnerships. "Whether companies are pursuing space ventures of their own or maturing cutting-edge systems to one day offer a new service to NASA, the agency is dedicated to helping bring new capabilities to market for our mutual benefit."
The selections were made through the agency's 2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO). The selected proposals are relevant to technology topic areas outlined in the solicitation, including cryogenic fluid management and propulsion; advanced propulsion; sustainable power; in-situ propellant and consumable production; intelligent/resilient systems and advanced robotics; advanced materials and structures; entry, descent, and landing; and small spacecraft technologies.
The selected companies are:
- Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. of Redmond, Washington - A new hybrid propellent of green ionic liquid and conventional hydrazine can provide low vapor-toxicity and high density-specific impulse while retaining low flame and preheat temperatures. Aerojet will utilize lessons learned from NASA’s successful Green Propellant Infusion Mission and work with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to develop the fuel for existing engines to propel future deep-space small spacecraft.
- Ahmic Aerospace LLC of Oakwood, Ohio - Thermal protection systems protect rockets and spacecraft from the extreme heat experienced during launch and atmospheric re-entry. In partnership with