by Staff Writers
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) Feb 21, 2017
NASA has selected five space technologies to test on low-gravity-simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital rockets. The opportunity to fly on these vehicles helps advance technologies closer to practical use by taking them from a laboratory environment to the real world.
The selections were made for NASA's Flight Opportunities program which organizes chances to fly and selects experiments for NASA support twice each year. The program selects promising space technologies to test through relatively low-cost ways that simulate spaceflight or just reach the edge of "space" on commercial suborbital launch vehicles, reduced gravity aircraft and high-altitude balloon flights.
"These selections allow companies and academia to demonstrate technologies of interest to NASA in a much more realistic environment than what they could get in ground-based simulation facilities," said Stephan Ord, the program technology manager for NASA's Flight Opportunities program.
This program is a valuable platform for NASA to mature cutting-edge technologies that have the potential of supporting future agency mission needs."
Two topics were included in this call for research. Under the first topic, which requested demonstration of space technology payloads, NASA selected four proposals:
+ Protein-Drop Pinning in Microgravity
+ Rapid Calibration of Space Solar Cells in Suborbital Environments
+ Guided Parafoil High Altitude Research II
+ Strata-S1 - Refining a Testbed to Evaluate the Behavior of Regolith Under Microgravity Conditions
Under the second topic, demonstration of vehicle capability enhancements and onboard research facilities for payload accommodation, NASA selected one proposal:
+ BioChip SubOrbitalLab: An Automated Microfluidic and Imaging Platform for Live-Cell Investigations in Microgravity
Awards will be made for payload integration and flight costs, as well as limited payload development costs.
These investments take technologies from the laboratory to a relevant flight environment, facilitate technology maturation, validate feasibility and reduce technical risks and enable infusion of key space technologies into multiple future space missions. The next call for proposals in this series, called the REDDI Flight Opportunities, will be released by the spring of 2017.
The Flight Opportunities program is funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington and managed at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. NASA's Ames Flight Research Center in Moffett Field, California, manages the solicitation and selection of technologies to be tested and demonstrated on commercial flight vehicles.
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