Press Release

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Applauds Boost to Innovative Technology Programs in New NASA Budget

By SpaceRef Editor
February 15, 2011
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Commercial Spaceflight Federation Applauds Boost to Innovative Technology Programs in New NASA Budget

Space Technology Office to Support High-Payoff Programs Including Centennial Challenge Prizes, Commercial Suborbital Science, and Parabolic Flights

Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 15, 2011 – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation today welcomed the strong support for space technology investments in the new NASA FY2012 proposed budget, including such high-profile programs as Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research, Centennial Challenges, and NASA’s commercial parabolic flight program.

CSF President Bretton Alexander stated, “Consistent with the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, these investments in space technology R&D represent a renewed focus by NASA on innovation, which is the seed corn of American economic competitiveness. Between 2005 and 2009, NASA’s technology programs were cut more than 50%, and we applaud NASA’s plan to reverse this decline. Robust funding for technology R&D will help ensure that the United States remains a global leader in space.”

Specific technology programs that are part of the new NASA budget include:

– NASA’s Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program, funded at $15 million per year, which will give scientists and students access to conduct research using low-cost commercial suborbital vehicles.

– NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, funded at $10 million per year, which offers incentive prizes in the mold of the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE to spur innovation in diverse areas of space technology.

– NASA’s Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training (FAST), funded at about $2 million per year, a commercial parabolic flight program to conduct research and technology development on “zero gravity” aircraft.

– Other exciting NASA technology programs, including: Cryogenic Propellant Transfer and Storage, In-Space Propulsion, Space Power Generation and Storage, Nuclear Systems, Lightweight Materials and Structures, Human-Robotic Systems, Autonomous Systems, Next-Generation Life Support, Adaptive Entry Systems, and In-Situ Resource Utilization.

CSF Executive Director John Gedmark stated, “These will be some of NASA’s most high-profile, exciting programs. They are what the nation needs to generate new technology breakthroughs and precisely the kind of programs that will inspire the next generation to go into fields of science and engineering.”

NASA’s decision to increase technology funding follows a letter released last September by a group of 14 Nobel Laureates to Congress that emphasized the importance of technology investment, stating: “Innovative technology development must once again become a high priority at NASA…. We urge that NASA’s total technology investment be increased.”

CSF Executive Director John Gedmark concluded, “Yesterday’s technologies are not sufficient to keep America in first place in the global race for economic competitiveness. Technology innovation is what got America to the moon in the 1960s, and we need a renewed focus on technology to drive NASA forward in the 21st century. NASA and private industry can work together to find innovative technological solutions to today’s spaceflight challenges.”

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at or at 202.349.1121.

SpaceRef staff editor.