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NASA Space Technology Budget Request Fact Sheet

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 1, 2021
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NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

FY 2022 Budget Request
Space Technology
($ Millions)

The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops transformative, cross-cutting technologies that lead to research and technology breakthroughs to enable NASA’s missions and is broadening its focus on cross-cutting space technologies that will support creating good jobs in a growing space industry.

The Space Technology investment portfolio covers the entire technology readiness spectrum, which includes:

  • Technology Demonstration conducts system-level ground-based testing to determine feasibility, as well as space flight demonstrations of technologies and systems to effectively transition technologies and new capabilities for NASA missions and for use by other Government agencies and the commercial space industry. Some major highlights for FY 2022 include the following:
    • Complete Small Spacecraft Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment to support a Fall 2021 Launch Readiness Date (LRD);
    • Complete and deliver Deep Space Optical Communication and Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator to support Psyche’s [asteroid mission] LRD in August 2022 and JPSS’ [Joint Polar Satellite System] LRD in September 2022;
    • Qualify Solar Electric Propulsion thrusters to support the Lunar Gateway Power and Propulsion Element;
    • Complete OSAM-1 [satellite servicing] spacecraft bus and SPIDER pallet deliveries leading to Systems Integration Review and space vehicle Integration and Testing;
    • Continue development of Cryogenic Fluid Management technologies leading to flight demonstrations in 2024/2025;
    • Initiate preliminary design of a 10-kilowatt electric-class fission surface power system leading to Mission Concept Design/System Requirements Review; and
    • Continue development of small spacecraft technologies with a renewed focus on enabling new mission architectures for scientific discovery, including climate research, and further emphasize industry partnerships.
  • Technology Maturation advances disruptive space technologies from proof of concept to demonstration – maturing transformational and foundational technologies that primarily reside between early stage research and flight demonstration. Some highlights for FY 2022 include the following:
    • Initiate Industry and Commerce Innovation Opportunities to pursue technologies needed by the commercial space sector while enabling future NASA missions;
    • Deliver several Lunar Surface Innovative Initiative lunar surface technologies (e.g., PRIME1, Deployable Hopper, Nokia 4G/Wireless) to the surface the Moon in partnership with Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate; and
    • Deliver qualified thrusters from Frontier Aerospace for flight qualification on Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander CLPS mission to Lacus Mortis, a large crater on the near side of the Moon.
  • Early Stage Innovation and Partnerships spur collaboration with innovators across the Nation to capitalize on the ideas, talent, and experience of a diverse set of contributors to achieve Agency objectives. Efforts include targeting clean energy and climate-related technology challenges, expanding the number of NASA Innovative Advance Concept awards and exploring innovation pilots to enable breakthrough technology research and development in support of U.S. competitiveness. Expand engagement with the Nation’s innovators through the Phase II continuations of Deep Space Food, Break the Ice and Watts on the Moon challenges, as well as additional prize funding to develop new prizes, potentially in partnership with SMD, ARMD, and/or other Government agencies.
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs leverage the Nation’s innovative small business community to support early-stage research and development in support of NASA’s mission in human exploration, science, and aeronautics. Efforts include additional emphasis on (1) engaging a broad, diverse base of innovators through the program, especially in engagements with Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and (2) entrepreneurial engagement to encourage commercialization and economic impact.

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