NASA is set to award roughly $44m to six US-based companies to help boost the development of new ‘tipping point’ technologies which will assist in furthering human exploration in deep space.
The announcement was made on 8 August by NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine; who said that "these awards focus on technology collaborations with the commercial space sector that leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA's exploration goals."
‘Tipping point’ technologies include new, improved Moon-landing systems and sensors, along with platforms that can capture reusable space vehicles in mid-air. Bridenstine continued by saying “these key technologies will support NASA's science and human exploration missions in the future, these awards are yet another example of NASA's commitment to our nation's growing commercial space industry today."
The six companies to receive investment from this include; Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Colorado-based United Launch Alliance (ULA), California’s Frontier Aerospace Corps and Space Systems Loral (SSL), and Arizona-based Paragon Space Development Corps.
This is the third time that NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) have awarded funding to projects and it plans to continue running this project every year. This year NASA’s STMD receive roughly 90 preliminary proposals, with around two dozen proceeding to become full proposals.