Sun, Sep 18, 2011
Agency Selects Contractors For Solar Propulsion Spacecraft
NASA has selected five long-time aerospace contractors to
develop concepts for demonstrating solar electric propulsion in
space. NASA says these capabilities are important for the agency's
future human exploration missions to deep space.
The selected companies, pending successful contract
negotiations, are Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc. of Hampton,
VA; Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder, CO; The
Boeing Company operation based in Huntington Beach, CA; Lockheed
Martin Space Systems Company of Littleton, CO; and Northrop Grumman
Systems Corp. of Redondo Beach, CA.
The awards total about $3 million with a maximum individual
contract award of $600,000. Each company will provide a final
report to help define a mission concept to demonstrate the solar
electric propulsion technologies, capabilities, and infrastructure
required for sustainable, affordable human presence in space.
The ability to move payloads reliably and cost effectively to
high Earth orbits and beyond is critical for deep space human
exploration. The mission concept studies will identify technology
gaps and look at innovative technical solutions for transportation
using solar electric propulsion.
NASA will use the studies to plan and implement a future flight
demonstration mission that will test and validate key capabilities
and technologies. NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program
is funding the studies. The Space Technology Office at NASA's Glenn
Research Center in Cleveland is managing the contracts.
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