NASA has selected four companies to develop concepts for storing and transferring cryogenic propellants in space. These capabilities are important for the agency’s future deep space human exploration missions.
The selected companies, pending successful contract negotiations, are:
- Analytical Mechanics Associates Inc. Hampton, Va.
- Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colo.
- The Boeing Company, Huntington Beach, Calif.
- Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colo.
The awards total approximately $2.4 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 cryogenic fluid management technologies, capabilities and infrastructure required for sustainable, affordable human presence in space.
Storing cryogenic propellants such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in space for long periods of time with minimal boil-off is critical for deep space human exploration. The mission concept studies will identify technology gaps and look at innovative technical solutions to develop cryogenic propulsion systems and depots.
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.