BROWNSVILLE, Texas – NASA announced on September 27 the award of more than $ 40 million in contracts to 14 companies, including Blue Origin and SpaceX, to develop technologies that can support NASA's long-term exploration plans.
The awards, totaling $ 43.2 million, are the fourth in a series of Tipping Point contracts by NASA's Space Technology Directorate, which have maintained work for up to three years in technology ranging from fuel production to avionics. The winning companies will also contribute their own funds to the projects, with the minimum percentage based on the size of the company.
"These promising technologies are at a turning point in their development, which means that NASA's investment is probably an additional push for a company to mature significantly," says Jim Reuter, NASA's associate administrator for space technology. said in a statement to the agency announcing the contracts. "These are important technologies required for continued exploration of the moon and Mars."
The largest prize was awarded to Blue Origin, which received $ 1
SpaceX received a $ 3 million contract to work with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for "clutch prototypes" for space launch. Earlier, SpaceX discussed the use of space to charge its Starship vehicle, with tankers launched from Earth to allow missions to the moon and Mars.
Three companies have been awarded contracts for the demonstration of satellite driven technologies for the cubes. Accion Systems, which develops ion electrospray chokes, has earned $ 3.9 million to develop chokes with the same performance as the cold gas chokes used on NASA's MarCO cubes, which flew through Mars last year, but with less mass and power . CU Aerospace will use a $ 1.7 million prize to fly a cube with two different propulsion systems. ExoTerra Resource received $ 2 million to demonstrate a high-kubzat solar-powered propulsion system.
Two companies that are part of NASA's lunar payload program have also received awards. Astrobotic has earned $ 2 million to work with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Kennedy Space Center to continue working on small rowers. Intuitive machines have received $ 1.3 million for a computer and software system for the processing of vision on spacecraft.
The Tipping Point Treaties are the second set of agreements NASA has entered into with the exploration technology industry over the past two months. In July, NASA announced space law agreements with 13 companies to help develop technology at no cost. The recipients included Blue Origin, which signed three separate agreements for navigation and guidance systems, fuel cells and high-temperature engine nozzle materials. SpaceX has received two agreements, one to investigate the interaction with regenite in landing large rockets on the moon and the other to work on space fuel transfers.