Press Release

NASA Selects In-Space Propulsion Innovations for Research

By SpaceRef Editor
May 16, 2003
Filed under , ,
NASA Selects In-Space Propulsion Innovations for Research
solar sail

NASA has selected 15 industry, government and academic
organizations to pursue 22 innovative propulsion technology
research proposals that could revolutionize exploration and
scientific study of the solar system.

Total value of the work to be done over a three-year period
is approximately $20 million, with $9.6 million in fiscal
year 2003; $10.2 million in fiscal year 2004; and $0.6
million in fiscal year 2005. The research will be conducted
in five, in-space propulsion technology areas: aerocapture;
advanced chemical propulsion; solar electric propulsion;
space-based tether propulsion; and solar sail technologies.

Each technology identified for development is part of the
In-Space Propulsion (ISP) Program, managed in the Office of
Space Sciences, NASA Headquarters. The awards are being made
as part of the In-Space Propulsion Technologies “Cycle 2”
amendment to NASA Research Announcement 02-OSS-01.

“We want to increase the frequency, speed, and return on our
missions and enable whole new missions that are impossible
or impractical with today’s propulsion technologies,” said
Dr. Colleen Hartman, director of the Solar System
Exploration Division, NASA Headquarters.

“This round of selections further broadens NASA’s investment
portfolio for in-space propulsion technologies,” said Paul
Wercinski, ISP Program Executive, Office of Space Science,
NASA Headquarters. “We are excited to see these technologies
eventually fly on future science missions.”

“Our goal is to develop technologies that will make deep-
space exploration more practical, more affordable, and more
productive,” said Les Johnson, In-Space Transportation
manager at the NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC),
Huntsville, Ala.

Contract awards:

Aerocapture Technology:

  • Ball Aerospace, Boulder, Colo.
  • Lockheed Martin, Denver

Advanced Chemical Propulsion:

  • TRW Space & Electronics, Redondo Beach, Calif.
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. (three awards)
  • VACCO Industries, Inc., El Monte, Calif.

Kilowatt Solar Electric Propulsion System:

  • NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland
  • Busek Co. Inc., Natick, Mass.

Momentum-eXchange/Electrodynamic Reboost (MXER) Tether Technology:

  • Tethers Unlimited, Inc., Lynnwood, Wash. (two awards)
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tenn.
  • Lockheed Martin, Denver (two awards)

Solar Sails:

  • NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. (two awards)
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
  • Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
  • U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington
  • SRS Technologies, Huntsville, Ala.

SpaceRef staff editor.